Venturing into New Territory
Timmy and Minda Dixon love outdoor adventure and wanted to share it. When they saw an opportunity to open their own outfitter business, the first stop was the SBDC. “I worked eight years for an outfitter in Fries who was closing his business at the end of 2014,” Timmy Dixon says. In September 2014, Timmy and his wife Minda met with Blue Ridge Crossroads SBDC Director Mandy Archer to discuss funding opportunities for starting a business.
“The Dixons saw an opportunity to fill a gap in the local economy and pursue something they love at the same time,” Archer says. A business plan and financial projections were prepared in just a few months, but funding was a challenge. “The Dixons had never owned a business, and they were still newlyweds,” she adds.
Another challenge came with the seasonal nature of the business. How would the Dixons meet financial obligations during the off-season? The SBDC staff found the answer when they helped the Dixons secure two smaller loans for start-up capital needs.
New River Outdoor Adventures opened for business Memorial Day Weekend 2015, offering canoeing, kayaking, tubing, and biking. “We’re located right between the New River and New River Trail. It’s a very good location,” Dixon says. “We have access to the river and rent bicycles for the trail. We also offer floats along the New River and shuttle services for both New River and New River Trail.” Over the past year, the business has added two part-time employees.
To help with marketing, Dixon took advantage of the SBDC classes on web design and social media. His future plans include tapping into markets in North Carolina. “We’re only an hour and 15 minutes from some major cities there,” Dixon says. “We plan to promote weekend vacations or even ‘day-cations’ for people to drive back home at night.”
The Dixons appreciate the continuing support from Archer and her assistant Ginny Plant. “Whenever they see an opportunity for us to branch out or go to a trade show, the SBDC staff lets us know,” Dixon says. “The SBDC is a big help.”