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Client Spotlight: Mission Adventure Tours

Mission Adventure Tours San Antonio Texas

Mission Adventure Tours, Sarah Neal, Owner 

Sarah Neal managed Mission Kayak for over a year before she decided to purchase the business, expand its offerings and rebrand as Mission Adventure Tours.  Sarah took full advantage of the services offered at the SBDC. She attended 29 different small-business workshops where she met with Business Advisor, Tracie Hervey. Tracie and Sarah worked on financials, strategy and process to support the business purchase.

Mission Adventure Tours, started in January of 2017, sells Kayak Tours, Bike Tours and Running Tours. Mission Adventure Tours is also expanding into the Kayak/Canoe retail business. Sarah saw a need in the San Antonio market for an all-in-one outdoor adventure tour company. Over 13 million people visit San Antonio annually and many of them want to get outside and see more than the normal tourist spots. Mission Adventure Tours works closely with the San Antonio River Authority, San Antonio Housing Authority, Lackland AFB’s Teen and Youth Programs, Mission Road Ministries and numerous disabled veterans groups to discounts their tours so that these organizations can afford to take people on the tours. Mission Adventure Tours gives back to the local community by donating supplies. MAT is also one of the largest sponsors of the San Antonio River Foundation’s River Relay Race.  Mission Adventure Tours donates all of their kayaks, paddles, lifejackets, shuttle services, etc. to help ensure the River Foundation has a successful event each year.

Sarah earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Environmental Biology and certified in the American Red Cross 1st Aid and CPR/AED certification. She has the American Canoe Association (ACA) Level 2 Kayak River Instructor Certification, ACA Level 1 Stand-Up Paddleboard Instructor Certification, ACA Coastal Kayak Day-Trip Planner Certification, ACA Adaptive Paddling Certification and has a Texas Parks and Wildlife Texas All-water Paddle Craft Permit.  Sarah is a duty connected disabled veteran who has had a hard time adjusting to the civilian world. Over the last seven years, she used kayaking as a form of healing for herself and her family. Now, as the owner of Mission Adventure Tours, Sarah takes special pride in the fact that she can share kayaking with other veterans who also need a way to heal both physically and mentally.

Sarah attended 29 different workshops at the SBDC in 2017. These workshops were invaluable to her as a new small business owner. Mission Adventure Tours plans to expand, which will give her the ability to tap into the kayak and outdoors retail market. This move has the potential to be huge in central Texas. Sarah is also looking for land and a building to lease/purchase so that Mission Adventure Tours can finally have a “home.”

With UTSA-SBDC’s help, Sarah took a single kayaking business to a significantly larger business. Mission Adventure Tours has increased sales and number of employees. Thousands of people have booked trips with Mission Adventure Tours.  Sarah obtained a line of credit, which allows her to buy next season’s equipment in advance resulting in saving money. Sarah is also in the process of finalizing additional financing for her next expansion of the canoe and kayak business.

“Tracie is a wonderful sounding board and she can give honest advice. Tracie is not a “yes” woman if she sees something that is not right or know that the idea is not the best. What I need is a person who is honest and is willing to tell me ‘no.’ Tracie is this person and that is invaluable to me.”  Sarah Neal, Owner