Business Owners On Lake Vermilion Optimistic for Much Better Summer Season
The Owners of Lake Vermilion Houseboats and Pike Bay Lodge Look Forward to Welcoming Guests Back to the Great Outdoors
LAKE VERMILION, Minn. – After a year of the unknown and countless cancellations, the summer season is looking brighter for businesses along Lake Vermilion.
“This year is looking to be our best year-to-date,” said Kyle Colbert, owner of Lake Vermilion Houseboats.
The scene is calm on Lake Vermilion, but many business owners are preparing for a stampede of activity as spring turns to summer.
“Last year not knowing whether or not we were going to be open with COVID, and now being able to expand on last year and look forward to this year – it’s overwhelming honestly,” said Joy Colbert, owner of Lake Vermilion Houseboats.
The Colbert’s are going into their fifth season as owners of Lake Vermilion Houseboats.
“Being on the houseboat in the middle of a 40,000-acre lake with just those individuals on a houseboat, there’s no other way to social distance,” said Colbert.
After a year full of anxiousness and anxiety, the books are looking much better for 2021.
“I was calling the banker and saying well, ‘I don’t know if we’re going to be able to make our mortgage payments for this year,’” said Colbert. “There’s the maintenance, the updating, we’ve got people here like crazy getting the welding done, doing carpentry work.”
The Colbert’s employ eight individuals.
“We’re always keeping up on our pontoon work,” said Colbert. “Just getting them in and out of the water, that’s a big task.”
These hardworking folks are working around the clock to keep up with demand as reservations keep flooding in.
“You do pilot yourself, or captain the houseboat yourself, and you do get a full orientation at our docks before you leave,” said Colbert.
Joy and Kyle can’t think of a better way to social distance and make everlasting memories amid a global pandemic.
“If you truly want to just not see another soul for a couple of days, get on one of our boats,” said Colbert. “That’s why we’re in business; we want to provide positive experiences for family and friends.”
The Iowa natives have one goal in their new adventure as owners of these floating RV’s – to keep you calm and connected to the great outdoors.
“People still want to go fishing and vacation in the Northwood’s, and since they can’t cross into the Canadian border, they’re doing it in the United States and they’re supporting our in-state and in-country business,” said Colbert.
Just six minutes away, the owner of Pike Bay Lodge in Tower can’t wait to welcome guests back to his property.
“People are excited about coming up to the lake, getting out relaxing, and fishing,” said Jay Schelde, owner of Pike Bay Lodge on Lake Vermilion.
It’s a sense of normalcy Schelde knows will keep customers returning to help escape the waves the last year has churned up.
“If people come back, it shows you that you’re doing something right,” said Schelde.
Over 50 percent of his business is from returning customers. However, Schelde says there’s plenty of room for new memories to be made.
“With the COVID, and people not being able to travel or fly or choosing not to, they’re coming up in droves. This is where they want to come,” said Schelde.
There’s a common conclusion among resort owners in Minnesota’s most northern tier.
“This is Canada without crossing the border,” said Schelde.
With the Canadian border remaining closed, travelers are flocking to destinations they may have passed up before.
“Vermilion is, in my estimation, the most beautiful lake I’ve ever seen,” said Schelde.
“People come up and they start as a customer, especially a repeat business, they end up being your friends,” said Schelde.
As many of us anxiously await warmer weather, campfires, and days on the lake, it’s a reminder that no matter how closed off the world may seem, there’s always something to explore in your very own backyard.
“The awesome thing about Lake Vermilion Houseboats – what we have to offer, is truly unplugging and getting away from the hustle and bustle of the city,” said Colbert.
“To bring a family up here, bring the kids up here, you’ve got room to play in the yard, you’ve got water and boating, there are things to do close by,” said Schelde.
Lake Vermilion Houseboats and Pike Bay Lodge have a few openings left for this summer – but you’ll need to act fast.
Both businesses have implemented safety protocols, such as contactless check-in, and extreme cleaning measures.