Looking to invest in a biz that’s all about fun? Consider Town Tinker Tube Rental in Phoenicia.
You’re flying down the whitecapped Esopus Creek, swirling along with the refreshingly icy water. The tube you’re sitting in leans to one side as you narrowly skim by a boulder that’s half-submerged in the water. Suddenly you hit a still patch of water. You sit up, lean your arms out, and paddlepaddlepaddle until you hit more rapids, your laughter drowned out by the rush of the water splashing over you. At the end of the run, you’re as energized and happily exhausted as if you’d run miles.
For 40 years, tubers have enjoyed the whitewater in Phoenicia thanks to Town Tinker Tube Rental. Like other businesses, COVID put the kibosh on the past two summer seasons, and now owner Harry Jameson has put the business and its 1.15 acres of property up for sale.
“So far, we have had a number of people interested but nothing definite as of yet,” says Jameson, who began renting inner tubes out of the iconic red barn when he was just 26 years old.
“Tubing on the Esopus has been part of the Catskills’ attractions for many years, and based on the amount of marketing that I have done over the life of the business, if you mention Phoenicia, people automatically think of tubing and the Town Tinker,” Jameson says. “The Town Tinker Tube Rental has become an institution that served over a million customers—many of which are still calling every day to see if we are open.”
Jameson hopes to sell to someone who can continue the business—and even expand on it. “Beyond the tubing season, the 100-car parking lot has the potential for other uses such flea markets, food truck events, or other activities,” he says. “Aside from the tubing, the Town Tinker Barn would be great for any business based on location, location, location, as it’s the first thing you see when you come into town.”
Fond memories have snowballed for Jameson over the years. “My time as the Town Tinker was precious, and I feel blessed to have created such a wonderful opportunity for so many people,” he says. “Introducing people to the beauty of the Catskills, the Esopus Creek environment with its wildlife and greenery, the whitewater rapids and excitement of the trip, all add up to an amazing experience. Talking to customers coming back from their first ride and realizing what a positive impact it had on them was a great feeling.”
Retirement for Jameson looks a bit different than what you’d suppose. His future plans include promoting Romer Mountain Park—the former Phoenicia Ski Center and, before that, the Simpson Ski Slope—as a wedding and event facility. “It’s a beautiful property and over the years there have already been many folks married there, including friends and family,” he says. “I will be promoting it as a great place for outdoor tent weddings with a hometown feel.”
He’s also a founding member, and currently chairman, of the Catskill Mountain Railroad. The group provides themed train rides such as the recent Easter Bunny train; Catskill Flyer; Ice Cream Sundays; Fall Foliage and Pumpkin Trains; and the Polar Express. “Everybody loves a train ride, which includes kids of all ages, even the ones with gray hair,” he says.
After serving the public every weekend for 40 years, Jameson hopes to have more time to just enjoy life. “I like to hike, fish, play music, and spend time with friends and family; I also like working on old cars, and have a 1954 Jaguar Roadster that needs to be finished so I can take it for a ride,” he says. “I’m also thinking about writing a book, The Tales of The Town Tinker, which will be about all of my experiences running the business.”
Ready to dip a paddle into owning this business? Contact Ruth Gale Realty in Phoenicia.