Midwest WaterSport's History
Over the past 40 years Midwest has gone thru a lot of changes...
Midwestern Water Ski Center was founded by Jim Petersen who was also the founder of the Prior Lake Water Ski Team. Jim and the rest of the Petersen family grew the business selling MasterCraft, Correct Craft, and Hydrodyne boats as well as water skis and accessories, even hosting a MasterCraft Pro Water Ski Tour event.
In 1987, employee Dave Ingalls purchased the business and changed the name to Midwest Water Sports. The store was moved from Overlook Drive in Bloomington to a retail location at 8600 Excelsior Boulevard in Hopkins MN. Over the next several years Midwest parted ways with Correct Craft, added Malibu Boats, parted with Malibu, and added Polaris Snowmobiles and Personal Water Craft.
In 1995 our resident tech guy at the time Ted Martin registered www.waterskis.com for the business. He said it would be the next big thing. As it turns out Ted was also a wakeboarder but never registered wakeboards.com nor did anyone for that matter until 2000! We had a mail order catalog during this time and even had one of the first e-commerce sites in the niche on www.waterskis.com. As it turns out we were a little early.
During the mid 1990's we sold more than 200 new snowmobiles a year! During the winter, all of the MasterCraft's and water skis were out of the showroom to make way for snowmobiles. We hardly sold anything summer related except at the Minneapolis Boat show (in January) from October thru March.
In 1996, we were out of room so a second location in Burnsville MN was purchased. This store started out only selling MasterCraft Boats and accessories but Polaris Snowmobiles and ATV's were added. A few years after that, Honda Motor Cycles and ATV's were added and all of the marine products moved back to Hopkins because of space constrictions. The name of the Burnsville store was changed to Ride Sports.
In 1997 we bought our first MasterCraft X-Star after seeing it at a MasterCraft meeting in TN. They were only available as a sold color polo green or navy blue Prostar 205 direct drive which came with sort of ugly X-Star decals, a Fly High Extended Pylon and one Fat Sac. In 1998, we got our first X-Star with a wakeboard tower on it. Some of the water ski focused members of the staff said, "nobody will ever buy that thing." It was gone in less than a week!
In 2000 we sold over 40 closed bow direct drive ski boats. That is amazing since by the early 2000's we only sold a couple closed bows per season.
In July of 2002, Andy Larson, who had worked in the sales department since December 1994, purchased the marine portion of the business in Hopkins and parted ways with Polaris. The business was renamed Midwest MasterCraft to signify the focus on MasterCraft Boats and water sports accessories.
Because of the increase in larger boats and the proliferation of wakeboard towers we needed to look for a different facility. It was growing increasingly difficult to sell and service boats at our Hopkins location. In 2004, the company purchased a 25,000 square foot building in Crystal, MN. The new building had on site parking for 125 boats outside and could fit as many as 40 boats inside. Our showroom was larger than our entire Hopkins building. The best thing for us was that the ceilings and doors were high enough so that we never had to fold wakeboard towers. Our service team has gotten more than a little spoiled. :)
In 2007, we decided it was time to start to use www.waterskis.com for e-commerce again. In 2011, we purchased the www.wakeboards.com URL and developed an e-commerce store there. We were one of the larger water sports dealers before we added e-commerce and are now one of the top water ski and wakeboard retailers in the world.
When we moved to Crystal we really wanted to be somewhere closer to our previous location in Hopkins but could not find a suitable location that fit all of our needs for service and boat storage. We had been looking longingly at a return to the south west suburbs for years. In 2012 the Supra and Moomba dealer in the area changed hands. When that happened we put a sales pitch in to get the lines and purchased a second location on Hwy 5 on the Chanhassen/Victoria city line. This location was called Midwest Water Sports and was located at 1400 Steiger Lake Dr. Victoria MN. Midwest Water Sports sold and serviced MasterCraft, Supra, and Moomba boats, and had a Pro Shop for water sports gear.
After living with the added work and expense of two business names (Midwest MasterCraft and Midwest Water Sports), two web sites, multiple social media profiles, etc. etc. we reverted back to the Midwest Water Sports name for both locations in the summer of 2017.
Strong sales and the growing number and size of boat models was cramping our style at the Victoria location. We were limited by space and that created challenges showing MasterCraft, Supra, and Moomba boats so in November 2017 we purchased a building at 17717 Hwy 7 in Minnetonka where we built a 13,232 square foot dealership to better serve Lake Minnetonka and the other lakes in the south west suburbs. The new location opened in 2018.
The more things change, the more they stay the same!
It is true that what is old is new again.