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River Valley focusing on growth opportunities

With an always changing marketplace, River Valley Power and Sport is ending its outdoor power equipment sales and services beginning this month.

The Red Wing-based business will focus on its property maintenance, marine and powersports businesses.

Owner John Wooden said the way people buy power equipment has changed, making it difficult to continue that side of the business. At this time, that endeavor is no longer "economically viable."

"It's a disposable world ... that's what really happened to the power equipment world," Wooden said. "You used to buy a piece of outdoor power equipment and it would last for 20 years and you'd repair it, you'd trade it. The trade cycle's gone. The replacement cycle's gone. It's a disposable industry."

While the ending of the outdoor equipment sales and services side of the business is a negative thing, Wooden said the rest of their business is "robust."

Wooden said he wants community members, whether that be in the Rochester, Lake Minnetonka or Red Wing locations, to understand the business is excited about its future and the possibilities.

Last summer, River Valley purchased Bill's Bay Marina, providing a chance to continue to grow the marine business. The company continues to grow in Rochester, getting a "destination marine center" up and running next year. Wooden said they anticipate being able to rent fishing boats and pontoons in 2019 in Red Wing.

The company has grown 20 percent per year in the last eight years on the marine side, according to Wooden. River Valley has been named the largest volume marie dealership in Minnesota.

With 100 employees throughout the company, Wooden, along with brother Mike Wooden. who serves as director of operations, says this decision will help their company continue to grow. Mike Wooden said they look at the move as more of an "expansion, not a contraction."

So with some changes coming to the company, River Valley Power and Sport will not be getting out of the "fun business" any time soon.

For more information on the many businesses under the River Valley Power and Sport umbrella, visit the Facebook page or their website, https://www.rivervalleypowerandsport.com.

Matthew Lambert

Matthew Lambert joined the Red Wing Republican Eagle in March 2018 covering school board, public safety, and writing features. Lambert previously wrote for the Pierce County Herald and River Falls Journal. He is a graduate of Winona State University with a Bachelor's degree in Mass Communication: Journalism. 

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