PLYMOUTH, Minnesota — A Minnesota-based company is focused on alleviating some of the frustrations people experience while trying to enjoy a day out on the lake.
"When you get into boating, you think it's 100% fun and what you quickly realize is there's a lot of like non-fun elements about boating," said Kris Clover, co-founder of MISSION Boat Gear. "Our goal is really, 'How can we help people maximize the amount of fun that they're having on the water?'"
MISSION designs and develops innovative products, right now focused on boating and lake life accessories.
The company, based in Plymouth, is currently in its busiest time of year.
"This is Christmas for us. And then last week and the week before are really the Black Friday kind of days for us," Clover said.
MISSION started about five years ago when Clover noticed a need for more innovative boating accessories. He first looked at the wake surfing business.
"It was very difficult to create... a great wave behind an existing boat. You had to buy a brand new surf boat to get a really nice surfing wave behind an inboard boat so we came up with a way to do that aftermarket," Clover said.
Clover created a solution, called Surfside, but realized the need for a universal wake shaping device that would work on any boat model.
Clover then teamed up with his neighbor, Mark Bohlig. Bohlig, a mechanical engineer, was a stay-at-home dad at the time. With Bohlig as a co-founder, the pair put in more than a 1,000 hours to develop the product DELTA. The DELTA wakesurf shaper can easily attach to the side of a boat using hi-powered suction cups.
"It's really neat to have grown this from something where our first products were shipping out of a garage," Bohlig said. "Once we introduced the DELTA... we were shipping hundreds of products a day. So literally the front yard was full of boxes going out to the UPS truck."
Clover added, "Truck drivers were showing up scratching their heads around like, 'Where's your office?'"
They've been riding a wave ever since DELTA's launch. Their next product, a REEF inflatable water mat, is an alternative to the floppy foam mats.
"When you're on the water, it's a much better experience. It's an inflatable dock. It's not floppy. So you can even put lounge chairs on them," Clover explained.
When it's not being used, the REEF mat can fit into a duffel bag.
"Our wives ensured that we got a bag that you could actually get the product back into," Bohlig said.
MISSION also came out with SENTRY fenders—a boat bumper solution that attaches to boat cleats and docks.
While MISSION has been focused on marine products, they're looking to expand and tap into the larger outdoor lifestyle market.
"We're idea guys and we see pain points in everything that we do outdoors," Clover said.
Bohlig added, "We really are having a unique ability to create products that have a design flare and a function that have proven to be highly accepted by the marketplace. So we're excited about that."
MISSION works with about 200 dealers across the world. You can check out MISSION's products in person by visiting their showroom in Plymouth at 14030 23rd Ave N. or online at missionboatgear.com.