Beyond Boundaries LLC: Canoe, Kayak, & Bike rental at Old Talg's Mill…. a dream comes true
Originally from the Elgin, Illinois area, the owners of Beyond Boundaries, Miah and Brandi Jones didn’t have plans on opening a business in Wonewoc, Wisconsin. Before Wonewoc, the Joneses living in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, were focused on paying off debt and their mortgage finding themselves as Brandi put it as, “workaholics”.
Avid cyclists, the Joneses found themselves biking the 400 trail that passes through Wonewoc. They stopped in at the Old Talg’s Mill a turn of the century feed mill repurposed to house a Canoe rental business located a block from the Baraboo River, and similar to the one they would open.
While visiting with the owners of the shop, they immediately fell in love with the building built in 1907. The old feed mill still had an array of grain shuts and structure untouched from previous owners.
After departing for their camping destination and enchanted by their experienced, they talked about how lucky the building owners were to have “such a beautiful building”, and how amazing it was the rental owners had a unique place to house their business. The Joneses felt It had so many “unique features” in it.
On the way back from camping, they stopped back in and spent more time visiting with the rental owners and talked more about the building. A bond was made that would find the old rental owners stopping in to visit the Joneses at their home in Reedsburg from time to time.
Fast forward. Eventually the previous owners had a baby and decided to close the business. Not too long after, one winter evening the past owners paid a visit to the Joneses yet again, but this time was to tell Miah and Brandi that the owners of the Old Talg’s Mill were selling it. “We really want that building.”, Brandi told the couple. The Jones’s opportunity had arrived.
In 2008, Brandi and Miah opened BEYOND BOUNDARIES LLC: Canoe, Kayak, & Bike Rental at Old Talg's Mill. Unfortunately, shortly after they opened their doors for business, June saw Wonewoc hit with a major flood that brought in a lot of trees. Being survivors like the rest of the residents, they bounced right back, continuing business as usual.
Originally, Miah and Brandi didn’t have a business plan and jumped in head first. Brandi’s parents Cindy and Gordon Pollard, and Jayce, her autistic brother, moved up from Illinois to help start their dream venture.
“They helped us get everything started and run the business for the first few years, having moved up here mainly to do so as well as really enjoy life in the Driftless area. They all continue to help out as needed for random weekend needs.”, Brandi said.
Brandi and Miah stressed that people should know that Brandi’s brother Jayce as she put it, “is the continual best worker bee and a great example of what adults with autism can be part of.”
Initially geared towards (no pun intended, okay it’s funny…intended) canoe, kayak, and bike rentals, expansion was on the horizon.
A family that had a house on Lake Redstone and regular bike rental customers, asked the Joneses if they could buy five of their rental bikes for the whole family for when they were up in the area. That was the catalyst to the bike sales part of the business. “Everybody knows Miah, that he does the bike service.” Brandi said.
As if that expansion was not enough, as some might think, Beyond Boundaries is not the Jones’s primary job. Miah works at a machine shop, and Brandi takes care of the Airbnb that they have above the business.
About owning a business in Wonewoc, well, Brandi had this to say, “We live here in Wonewoc, we have a nice downtown. We can walk out our front door and go to a couple places to grab lunch. There is a nice restaurant with the Woodfire Bistro, and yet we can just drive or bike the 14 miles to a 24-hour grocery store. We are close enough to the Dells that we can drive there for a little night life.” Compared to the town they grew up in, they feel a lot more accepted and have a lot more friends here.
“People expect somebody that has lived here all their lives to run and own the business. When we tell that we are originally from Illinois, more stories are exchanged.”, she said.
“My mom loves it here much better than where she raised us.”, Brandi said and added, “My brother gets to go to County Market in Hillsboro, just 6 miles from here. There is a cashier there that is just amazing with him being autistic. The people around here do very well with him. We like the community here a lot. Being outdoorsy makes it even much better.”
It should be noted that the Baraboo River is the longest undammed river reclaimed around 1997. Only the Hillsboro part of the river had a dam until recently when it was taken out by flooding last fall. Having amazing fishing opportunities, there are Northern Pike, Walleye, Sturgeon, and Trout among other species of fish in the river. The 400-bike trail that passes through Wonewoc, connects to the Elroy-Sparta, LaCrosse River, and Great River trails that combined, total an approximate 101 miles.
For more information on BEYOND BOUNDARIES LLC: Canoe, Kayak, & Bike Rental at Old Talg's Mill, go to http://www.goingfarbeyond.com/ or call (608) Go4-Ride(464-7433). You can also book rentals by going to https://recreogo.com/consumer/beyond-boundaries-canoe-kayak-bike-adventures, or book their Airbnb by visiting www.airbnb.com/rooms/3962236.
Photos contributed by Miah and Brandi Jones