Success stories

Chris & Tabitha Knight

Owner

It sounds simple: find a need and fill it.

Demand, meet supply, and boom: you’re in business.

Somehow it’s never that simple, as Chris Knight learned when he was trying to get Action Sports Rentals off the ground. It didn’t make sense to him that a city like Redding – which relies heavily on outdoor recreation to keep its locals and tourists happy – wouldn’t have a single way to rent jet skis, ATVs, and other sports equipment.

The nearest rental outlet was hours away in Sacramento, so Chris saw the opportunity and began to put it all together. He was going to start with just jet skis, but soon realized quads, kayaks, and snowmobiles should round out the inventory. “I was going to try to float the bill on my own, but once I added the extra units, that didn’t work,” he recalls.

“For me, it wouldn’t have been possible without SCED,” says Chris

He tried his regular bank first: no success. Next lender: same answer. Neither would give him a loan because he hadn’t been in business for at least a year, and there was no one in the Redding market they could compare his business to.

So much for simple! The exact reason his business could succeed – the fact that no one else was meeting sports rental need – was a reason institutions were afraid to bank on his success. Stymied, Chris did his research and found Superior California Economic Development (SCED), and after walking in the door with copies of every document he could think of, he was able to get a loan.

“For me, it wouldn’t have been possible without SCED,” says Chris, who has gained a lot of financial know-how in the process. As for his business now: “It’s awesome. I’m super busy and I’ve met a lot of people, and made friends with a lot of cool business owners.”

Chris recommends other business owners not let customer service take a back seat while they’re trying to sort out behind-the-scenes needs, and to not get too comfortable. “Keep growing, keep looking for new things. Bring on something different, keep people interested,” he advises.

What started as a plan to help more people rent jet skis now includes a shop full of kayaks, quads, snowmobiles, ATVs, stand up paddleboards, and even snow shoes. It may not have been a simple process, but at least lot more people are having fun now.

Check out Action Sports Rentals at www.actionsportsrentals.org