Offering Up Adventures On the Water

While Todd Haleen’s plans to purchase the old Associated Bank building in downtown Baileys Harbor fell through, his plans for a retail location did come to fruition this season. He is renting the space from new owner Paul Salm, providing a storefront for Lakeshore Adventures.

Todd Haleen loves to fish. Now 40-years-old, Haleen started working on his dad’s charter fishing boats when he was 10, and he became licensed to lead his own charter trips at 18.

But while fishing is a passion for Haleen, for a lot of the tourist families that utilize his charter fishing business, First Choice Charters, it’s just something to do on the water.

“Not everybody likes to go fishing. That’s a little bit of a hard concept for me to grasp, but it’s the truth,” says Haleen.

It’s with that thought in mind that Haleen decided to launch Lakeshore Adventures, a new marine tour and rental shop located in Baileys Harbor.

“Baileys Harbor’s got a lot of maritime history, the shipwrecks, the scuba diving,” says Haleen. “They’re all things that I really enjoy, and I like taking my kids out to do.”

Lakeshore Adventures offers a number of services, including a maritime history tour, scuba dives for both certified and non-certified divers, snorkeling tours, and jet ski and kayak rental.

But the most unique offering the business has is its clear-bottom kayak tours. There are three tours to choose from, each of which allows participants to look below the surface of the water and get a magnified view of what’s underneath them.

“On our Cave Point tour, the rock formations underwater are unbelievable,” says Haleen. “You can also see the Australasia shipwreck, which comes up from 20 feet of water to within six feet of the kayak.”

Captain Todd Haleen has 30 years of experience in the charter fishing business, and this year he expanded the offerings of First Choice Charter to include another business, Lakeshore Adventures, helping people get out on the water.

Haleen set up shop for Lakeshore Adventures in the old Baileys Harbor Associated Bank building on Highway 57 just this season. While his original plans to purchase the building fell through, he was able to convince Paul Salm, owner at the Cornerstone Pub, that his business was something worth establishing in Baileys Harbor.

“I’d basically written off the idea of having any retail space this year, and I was going to start up my rental business and kayak tours through my website,” says Haleen. “Then Paul actually called me because he saw my website, and he asked me if I wanted to move the business in.”

Salm says that the relationship between the two businesses has worked out pretty well so far.

“It complements the bar so well,” says Salm. “The bar is a nice meeting spot for people going over, and I’m seeing the foot traffic over there.”

Haleen says that between gutting the old bank building, organizing the new business, and taking people out on tours, this season has been so busy that he hasn’t even had the time to properly promote all of the offerings that Lakeshore Adventures has currently.

Still, he’s looking towards providing even more options in the future.

“I want to do a lot more with it than just what we’ve done,” says Haleen. “We’re busy, and I think it’s going to add quite a bit of fun things to do in Baileys Harbor – I think it’ll start making a difference in bringing people here.”