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Student's business venture makes a splash on the Schuylkill

Penn State Berks student Jeffrey B. McManus, a junior in the Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology program, and his business partner Cory A. Rhodes are making a splash with their recent venture; Reading Rivertribe provides inner tubes, rafts, canoes, and kayaks for rent to use on the Schuylkill River.

Customers rent the tubes and kayaks in the basement of the Canal Street Pub, where Reading Rivertribe has set up shop.  Transportation then is provided to various points along the Schuylkill.

There are three points along the river that Reading Rivertribe uses as access points: the Felix Dam in Muhlenberg Township, the Buttonwood Street Bridge, and Jackson's Landing, which is across the street from the Canal Street Pub in Heritage Park.

According to McManus, since they began their business in the summer of 2010, they have had nothing but positive response and support from the city, including that of Mayor Tom McMahon, who was especially helpful in guiding them through the process of obtaining a zoning permit and business license.

With a donation of 50 tubes from the former Hidden River Adventures, which operated in Douglassville from 1991 until 2001, and the purchase of a school bus to transport customers and the equipment to the river, they are off to a good start. In addition, two of their friends have volunteered their time as staff on the river to act as guides and offer assistance.

McManus commented that this summer was the test period for the business, and they hope to have be running full speed ahead for the summer of 2011.

"I think the tubes will really be popular," McManus said. "I would like to get up to 300 people on the river on a summer day. That would just be awesome."
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