Chris and Jane Ochsenbein grew up enjoying the great outdoors.
After years of living and working in nature, the pair decided to start a business focusing on everything they loved about their local environment. “As local residents we saw the opportunity to start a business where we could share our passion for the outdoors with the many tourists who visit the area,” Chris Ochsenbein says. “We help create memories that will last a lifetime.”
But helping create those memories wasn’t possible without hard with and proper planning. The Ochsenbeins called on SCORE mentors to help them kick off their adventure business.
Gator Bait Adventure Tours offers guided kayak tours, custom outdoor adventures, private tours, and vacation and party planning assistance.
The couple was challenged to translate their business skills to their new outdoor office. They met with SCORE mentors to determine how to plan for success as the company started offering tours. “We needed to understand how our type of business could meet ADA compliance,” Chris says. “Our mentor planned a coffee get-together with a local attorney, also a SCORE mentor, who explained how the laws applied to us, giving us a complete understanding. Outdoor activities can be challenging for people with disabilities. We want to include as many people as possible, and guest safety is our first priority.”
The Ochsenbeins met with their mentor every few weeks in their first few months of starting Gator Bait Adventure Tours. Now, they get together every few months to review progress and discuss new challenges.
“Our mentor helped us in so many ways!” Chris says. “He got us started with developing a business plan and priority list that really set us in the right direction.” Gator Bait is one of Trip Advisor’s top activities in the Myrtle Beach area, a distinction the Ochsenbeins credit in part SCORE’s guidance.
“He is always available to discuss our growth and help us figure out any concerns and roadblocks we encounter,” Chris says. “We love knowing we always have a resource to turn to for great advice!”