Two couples start businesses on the lake – one delivering

A local couple is teaming up to offer some cool treats to customers on piers along Geneva Lake and another is providing mobile boat detailing where they come to you.

Kelsey and Jordan Bradford of Lake Geneva started Salt & Kai last summer. As part of the business, the couple delivers popsicles from Pete’s Pops, beverages and other cold snack items to piers along Geneva Lake by appointment for weddings, birthday parties, engagement celebrations, business outings and private parties.

The couple also travels to Big Foot State Beach to make their products available to boaters. The products are delivered by a boat that the couple restored last year.

“So far, it has been Geneva Lake and specifically to the piers,” Kelsey Bradford said. “We don’t go boat to boat unless we are at Big Foot Beach and they walk up to us. But other than that it’s to piers for private events, whether that’s private residential piers or private business piers. We’re happy to come to any event.”

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The Bradfords also have made their products available during several community events including Lake Geneva Jazz Fest, Spring Market at the Barn in Elkhorn and The Space grand opening event, 605 W. Main St. in Lake Geneva.

Kelsey said they also plan to feature their products during Burlington’s Venetian Festival in July.

“We will come and set up a little bar, and we will sell Pete’s Pops and drinks at different events,” Kelsey said.

Besides delivering cool treats to the piers, the couple also sells items from local artisans including bracelets, headbands, earrings and handbags.

“As a business, we just love sharing great products with whoever we can,” Kelsey said. “So we sell things that we found that we love, whether that’s food, whether that’s retail and things that just have great stories behind them. So we’re all about storytelling in unique ways and highlighting the other businesses that are around.”

Kelsey said she is pleased with the support that the business has received during the past year.

“Everyone who learns about us is excited for what we’re doing,” Kelsey said. “We’re definitely still getting our name out there and getting the story out of who we are and why we’re doing this. It’s not really a money-maker thing for us right now. It’s more to just build community and share the things we love with others and bring a little joy to Lake Geneva and around the lake.”

The couple is preparing their business for the upcoming tourism season by updating their website, redesigning their business logo and upgrading their boat with a new motor so it travels faster.

“There’s still a lot to do and a lot of growth to happen,” Kelsey said. “We’re taking it one day at a time and going with the flow.”

Kelsey said they developed the idea for the business from her experience working in marketing and Jordan’s background working as a marine technician and his interest in boats.

The couple currently operates the business out of their home but plan to establish a brick and mortar location in the future.

“We just came together and merged our ideas, and we want to grow into something bigger with a brick and mortar location and have a community space that has great products and offers different amenities for the community,” Kelsey said. “We’re at the very beginning of our journey in building what we want Salt & Kai to be.”

Salt & Kai currently is operated as a seasonal business through September, but the couple plans to expand the business to be open throughout the year in the future.

For more information about Salt & Kai, visit www.saltandkai.com or call 262-729-3123.

Mobile boat cleaning

Another family bringing their service to Walworth County and Geneva Lake is Alexi and Colin Shepet, co-owners of Dockside Watercraft Cleaners, Inc.

The couple started Dockside Watercraft Cleaners in 2020 and have mostly been working in Waukesha County.

Alexi Shepet said they felt it was a good time to expand their business and offer their services in Walworth County.

Dockside Watercraft Cleaners offers basic maintenance cleaning, full detail cleaning and full detail and wax services. Alexi said they travel to the clients’ homes and are able to clean the boat where it is stationed.

“We are completely mobile. We pack everything into a truck with a power washer to have everything we need to clean off a boat where it sits,” Alexi said. “If it’s in a driveway, if it’s on a lift on the water, we have mechanisms in place to clean those boats. So I think our niche is the fact that we are mobile and we can get to your boat on the lift.”

Dockside Watercraft Cleaners currently has two crew of workers in Walworth County and two crews in Waukesha County. Alexi said they usually have three employees working on a boat at a time. She said they may add more employees as they receive more clients.

The couple decided to start the business in 2020 after Alexi was laid off from her job as an information technology recruiter and Colin received less clients from his medical sales job during the pandemic.

“At that point in time, we had been playing with the idea,” Alexi said. “We had grown up near lakes. It was waking up one night and saying, ‘How about a mobile boat detailing company?’ We sat on that idea for a little bit. We thought, ‘I don’t think that’s offered,’ so we asked around and did a bunch of research.”

Alexi said the couple may expand their business to other areas of Wisconsin in the future.