Thompson, president and owner of North American Outdoor Adventures, now works from his home south of Paynesville as what could be described as a hunting and fishing travel agent. His company organizes outdoor sporting adventures for all different budgets, all over the world; including the United States and Canada, Russia, Mexico, and even safaris in Africa.
The company, which Thompson has owned since 1992, was started by the North American Outdoor Group. He worked for the company, based in Minnetonka, until 1991 when he saw an advertisement for a lodge style home near Lake Koronis.
Now that he owns and runs the company from his home, he has less distractions and no traffic jams, but he mentioned that some clients are surprised when they call his 800 number in the early morning hours, expecting to get a recorded message, and Thompson answers. Since he advertises in national sportsmen's magazines and at sporting shows, he gets calls from prospective clients all over the country.
Thompson continually researches new locations to broaden his offerings, going on at least 12 exploratory strips per year, sometimes even taking clients with him to get their opinions. When he visits with people at sportsmen's shows, he often meets those who, year after year, say they'll go on a trip the next year. He often tells them, "This is the year you talked about last year."
Thompson offers trips for many different budgets, but realizes for some, especially younger people or single parent kids, it may be difficult. He tells them if they'll make a commitment, he'll make a commitment, and has helped young people realize a dream by setting up the balance on a payment plan.
Thompson has now franchised into other areas of the United States with 20 independent agents working under his company, although he works the business end from his home. He normally books hunts a year in advance, and already has bookings into 1999.
"I wouldn't send anyone on a trip I wouldn't go on myself," Thompson commented. "Not everyone works that way, but I can look everyone straight in the eye."
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