In Business: Itasca Sports Serving The Community For 30 Years
Itasca Sports has been located in Lake Itasca since 1989.
“My husband’s parents started the business back then, and we came in in 2004 and then we bought the business in 2005,” said Itasca Sports owner Caren Smith.
It’s a family-owned business that is situated right inside Itasca State Park, making it simple for visitors to take up recreational activities in their leisure time.
“Itasca has over 500,000 people a year that visit. So of course, being inside of Itasca State Park really helps with the business and getting the people here,” Smith said. “And a lot of people come here because there is recreation to do inside of the state park.”
Itasca Sports offers rental for bikes, pontoons, boats and so much more, and prices are made affordable for families.
“We are a family of nine, so when we travel, we like it when we can afford to do fun things. So that’s why our pricing structure is the way it is.”
Inside the store, customers can find a bike repair shop, bike accessories, fishing gear and a camp store. Smith says Itasca Sports has changed dramatically over the years. When they first started out their pontoons were small, and they had more fishing boats available. Smith says that over the years they make changes based on what customers want.
“We found more of the customers were wanting the pontoons than the fishing boats. So we started phasing out our smaller fishing boats and then providing our guests the fishing boats with the steering wheels and the larger motors,” Smith said.
The fleet of 150 bicycles and the canoes and kayaks are the only things that has stayed the same since the business opened its doors 30 years ago. Customers are able to pay after they finish with the rental. Smith says this policy allows them to enjoy themselves rather than stress out about time.
“We don’t want to limit your fun. People are, ‘I don’t know how long I’m going to be gone.’ ‘Don’t worry about it. Just be back by 8:30,'” Smith said. “We want families that come here or even individuals that come here to create amazing memories.”
Itasca Sports has an annual bike sale every Labor Day Monday. All rental items at the end of the season are for sale.