Opportunity rolls on two wheels

Segway tour operator opens  his new business in Lakeland

Ken Smith, owner of All American Segway, celebrated the grand opening of his Lakeland store with an April 11 ribbon-cutting. Staff, customers and Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors helped welcome the new business into the community. At the ceremony were Jim Herbert of First State Bank and Trust, Robin Anthony of PartyOnStillwater, Anita White of WhiteLighter Coaching Quest, Smith, chamber volunteer Debbie Suennen-Rickard, Cindy Schweizer of the chamber, Jeff Burkett of All American Segway, Laurie Cherry of Always Best Care Senior Services and John Ruiz of iVue Digital Advertising. Ribbon donated by Rose Floral of Stillwater. (Photo courtesy of the Greater Stillwater Chamber of Commerce)

Although Ken Smith and Jeff Burkett just opened their new business, All American Segway, LLC in Lakeland, it’s a business with a background.

Five years ago Smith used a Segway in his door-to-door sales job in Rochester,.
“I soon found out that people didn’t really care what I was selling, but wanted to know more about my Segway,” said Smith, the company’s owner. “I saw an opportunity and started to rent out Segways, went to festivals and eventually started my tour business.”

After working out of his home for years, Smith began doing tours in Apple Valley, but heard that Stillwater and the St. Croix Valley had more scenic places for tours and looked into it.

“We did a test run on groupon last year and it went great,” Smith said.

With business increasing, Smith decided opening a storefront would be a great idea. The store is located on a trail and allows Smith and General Manager Jeff Burkett to easily coordinate rentals and tour locations.

Popular tour routes include McKusick Lake, Pioneer Park, Lakefront Park and Hudson, Wis. They take those who want to go on a 90-minute Stillwater tour in Stillwater in a van. Smith said tours at the Lakeland location are offered seven days a week and cost $30 per person Monday through Friday and $35 a person Saturday and Sunday during the 2013 season.

“The first thing that people should know is that Segways are self-balancing machines. A lot of people are scared that they’ll fall flat on their face, but that’s not something that will happen,” Smith said. “And we give them training on the Segways before we go out. They can expect between five to six miles of riding on Segways on the trails and we share a little local history throughout the tour.”

Smith said rentals are also available for $20 per hour for the 2013 season.
Smith said that they’ve been getting a lot of repeat business since opening April 1, usually with families and senior citizens with their grandchildren.

“I like to see people’s reaction to the Segways. About halfway through people say it’s easier than they thought,” Smith said. “I hope that people who use our business have a good time. It’s a new experience, a new life experience and we have lots of recurring business. And all we really care about is that people have fun.”

To make a reservation call 507-206-0988.