Fresh out of high school, grad launches boat rental business

DE PERE, Wis (WBAY) - A recent De Pere High School graduate is using his summer before college to launch a business that centers around helping people enjoy the Fox River.

It was a trip to Florida this spring that triggered the idea.

"My dad and I rented a pontoon boat down there and thought, hey, this is pretty easy for this guy, so we might as well do something on the river so we can people around here on the river having fun," says Quinn Kneeland.

After taking out a loan to purchase a pontoon boat, and getting the proper approval from the City of De Pere, Kneeland launched Fox River Boat Rentals the week before Memorial Day.

It's a family affair.

"I own the majority and I have two brothers that also help me out, and they're great, we work together," says Kneeland of his brothers Connor and Alexander.

In just a month, the business has really picked up steam.

"Once we got the word out, I call it the snowball effect, as soon as you get a couple people, they tell a couple people, and for the 4th of July I had 14 people that wanted the boat, so if I had 14 boats they would have all been rented out," says Kneeland.

Renters pick up the boat from public docks in De Pere and can choose between two hours, four hours, a full day or extended days.

The cost ranges from $135 for two hours to $400 for a full day, and Kneeland says groups of friends of families generally split the bill.

"Most of the people like to just go cruise on the river, you can go on the upper Fox here and they like to see some of the houses, there's some neat landscaping in there and then we also have a locks pass so you can go through into downtown Green Bay," says Kneeland.

Kneeland says rentals will run into September, until he heads off to his first year of college, with a business already under his belt.

"Next year I'm going to Minnesota, I got into the business school, so we'll see what I can take from that and bring over here and just wherever it goes, I'm on the saddle and I'm ready for the ride," says Kneeland.

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