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Tough Summer Comes to an End for Lake Minnetonka Businesses

Updated: 09/02/2014 7:28 AM
Created: 09/01/2014 4:03 PM KSTP.com
By: Josh Rosenthal

Labor Day is typically the end of boating season for a lot of Minnesotans, and many businesses out on Lake Minnetonka say this season was a particularly tough one.

Remember, we had a late ice out, then cold and rainy weather, and then we had a wake restriction across all of the lake for the first time ever.

At Rockvam Boat Yards, it's finally business as usual, but overall, the summer was anything but.

"In a year when it's down and you can see it's down, you have to work harder to try to maintain some type of normalcy," owner Jerry Rockvam said.

High water levels meant building a second dock on top of Rockvam's normal one just so people could get into their boats. Also keep in mind, the wake restriction lasted nearly two months.

"You get to the end of the all-lake ban, which was seven weeks after it started," Rockvam said. "You're all excited that things are really going to get going, and then you realize you're at the end of summer."

"I've been on the lake for over 40 years, and it's the worst year I've ever seen," Lake Minnetonka Association President Tom Frahm said.

He thinks businesses will recover after a slow summer, but it won't be easy and it might not happen this year.

"The marinas and the restaurants basically are, this is their big season and if they don't do well during the summer it's tough going during the winter," he said. "Some of them, it's really tough."

For a few other businesses, things worked out better than they could've hoped.

"It's been a great summer," Maynards General Manager Jack Stevens said. "We're on pace for a record-breaking year."

He added that even though it was tough to get to the restaurant by boat for a lot of the summer, people still came by car. When the wake restrictions were lifted, business picked up even more than usual.

"When the wake restriction was lifted, boaters were rejoicing on the lake, and we were very fortunate to get a lot of them back in here that maybe hadn't been joining us for the first part of the summer," Stevens said.

Frahm doesn't think the slow summer will have a long-lasting effect on most Lake Minnetonka businesses. He says that could change, however, if we have back-to-back summers like this one.

Photo: KSTP-TV

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