April 2, 2019 – West Bend, WI – Cedar Lake Sales in West Bendis prepping to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The Bell family hosted an after hours meet and greet and shared tours of its store, 3820 Highway 33.
Brian Bell provided a trip down memory lane with details on how the store got its start as Cedar Lake Simplicity. “Mom and Dad received news they were awarded the Simplicity brand with lawn and garden equipment,” he said.
The Bells started the business at their house where they expanded to chainsaws and snowmobiles.
In late February of 1969 Don and Eileen incorporated the business and signed a lease to rent a building on Hwy 33, our current location. A franchise agreement was signed with Arctic Cat Snowmobiles and Chrysler Boats and Motors from Hartford, Wisconsin.
Their business began to grow year after year, so in 1972 they doubled the size of the building. With this improvement they sold 350 Arctic Cat snowmobiles in 1972 alone. In 1974, Don and Eileen signed on the Lowe Boat franchise and now had two boat lines to sell. With business continuing to grow, 1975 meant “acquire as many franchises as you can in one year.” So Cedar Lake Sales added Johnson outboard motors, Forester Boats, Mirrocraft Fishing Boats, Kayot Pontoon Boats and Puma pop up campers. In 1977, the Sylvan Boat franchise signed on the the 1978 model year.
Don Bell recalled when he first opened a couple of the fellas including Walter Koehn and Fred Sager sat on an old church pew at the entrance to the store. “They said, Don we wish you well but you ain’t going to last six months out here… you’re in the boondocks,” he said. “That was 50 years ago.”
Alan Bell said over the years Cedar Lake Sales has made a big impact in the number of boat sales and that’s after his Dad got his start by selling snowmobiles. “Since the snowmobile business was incredible.. we then moved to Crestliner boats and we were ranked No. 1 in the world in sales,” he said.
Coming up April 11-13 Cedar Lake Sales is celebrating its 50th milestone with seminars, food, prizes and in-store specials.