While working with youth-at-risk in 1994, Mike and a colleague helped a group of boys build epoxy/cedar "stripper" canoes before taking the group on a canoe trip. Soon afterwards, he was given a rotting wood-canvas canoe to restore. What started as a weekend hobby developed into the birth of Kettle River Canoes in 2003. The business started out as a home-based, part-time enterprise working out of his basement. One year later, he rented a 900 square foot workshop to handle the demand. Now, KRC is a stand-alone, full-time business with 3200 square feet.