Terry Prichard and Nancy Mertz
Long time world travelers, Terry Prichard and Nancy Mertz, who met while working as guides in 1991, started Sea Kayak Adventures in 1993 while continuing to guide for other tour operators. They ran 1 trip with 13 guests in 1993 and now run 55 trips with 600 people a year average. They are located in Coeur d’Alene and operate tours from Baja, Mexico October through April and tours from Vancouver Island, BC June – September.
Since travel is typically one of the first items cut from most people’s budgets in a downturn, Nancy and Terry decided to be proactive. They took a 9-month course at the North Idaho SBDC that included personal coaching as well as classroom sessions. Nancy said, “A shorter course would not have been effective. This way you could really learn to focus and change your thinking and behavior and practice while still under the tutelage of phenomenal instructors. The steady and focused encouragement coupled with tools for business cost analysis really helped us.”
The couple followed SBDC coach Bill Jhung’s advice to constantly weigh each penny spent, each discount given, while adding extra value to products and doubling marketing efforts. The results were rewarding – the business went from 2008 being the worst year in the last 10 years to 2009 being in line with their best years.
Nancy and Terry started the business because they are passionate about sharing nature’s wonders with others. They also donate generously to charity and environmental organizations in Baja, British Columbia and Coeur d’Alene. They are working with Grupo Tortuguero in Baja to develop tours for 2011 for guests to come down and help sea turtle researchers tag sea turtles in Baja.
Sea Kayak Adventures was the recipient of 2009 National Geographic Adventure Magazine’s “Best Adventure Travel Companies on Earth” and 2009 National Geographic Traveler Magazine’s “50 Best Trips of a Lifetime”.
To visit their website click here.