Wisconsin outside recreation business units $eight.7 billion report in 2021


Recently compiled data from the US Bureau of Economic Analysis shows that Wisconsin’s outdoor recreation industry contributed a record $8.7 billion to the state’s gross domestic product in 2021.

The industry grew more than three times faster than the country’s overall economy.

“There was such a demand for anything outdoors. Many stores were literally sold out. There were empty bike shops all over the world,” said Andrew Teichmiller. He is the owner of Chequamegon Adventure Company in Minocqua, which will be entering its 25th summer in 2023.

The store sells and rents a range of silent outdoor sports equipment, including canoes, kayaks and bicycles.

He says 2021 has been a rollercoaster ride for people in his industry.

“In a way, that was great, but also in a way that has negatively impacted some retailers and suppliers,” Teichmiller said.

Between high demand and ongoing pandemic shutdowns, manufacturers have struggled at times to keep up with demand.

But despite the struggles, Wisconsin’s outdoor industry boomed 14% last year, according to a report by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis.

It has impacted everything from manufacturers and retailers to restaurants and lodging.

“It was really amazing how many people came in and how many people came in and out of our store,” said Teichmiller.

While the outdoor industry has largely corrected itself in terms of supply and demand, issues remain.

That’s one of the reasons Teichmiller decided to temporarily close Chequamegon Adventure Company until spring. It’s the second winter in a row he’s done this.

“The fat bikes, which we sell quite a lot of, their production has been interrupted a lot,” said Teichmiller.

Last winter he didn’t get his Fatty Tire bike order until March and he sold his stock by the end of October this year. He doesn’t expect an increase before February or March.

“My shop is very small. In the winter, I’m the only employee, so I’ve decided it’s best if I switch off and go and enjoy myself,” Teichmiller said.

While he hopes the supply chain will smooth out again, one of Teichmiller’s biggest concerns, one he shares with almost every industry, is finding enough workers.

Teichmiller says he’s grateful for the patient and understanding customers who have come through his doors over the past few years.

“I hope that this continues and I hope that it will spread to other industries, such as the catering industry in particular,” said Teichmiller. “Where people can relax a little bit more, you understand the situation that’s going on with staff and everyone under staff shortages. Just enjoy the Northwoods for what they are, an incredible place to live, work, play and vacation.”

According to the report, Wisconsin’s outdoor industry provides nearly 90,000 jobs.