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Syracuse Yacht Sales celebrates three decades in business

The colorful display of kayaks in the window of Syracuse Yacht Sales Inc. is a familiar sight to anyone who passes through Lyndon Corners, where the business has been running for more than 30 years.

People might have thought that the store had closed down since owner Fred Grunert recently sold DeWitt Sports, where he primarily sold ski and bicycle equipment. Grunert sold DeWitt Sports to The Ski Company and moved his bicycle business over to Syracuse Yacht Sales, which is still alive and well.

The store first opened up in the late 1960s and for a while was DeWitt's premier yacht and sailboat dealer. The interior of the building is actually built on a barn frame, since they needed the high ceiling space for full-sized, 40-foot boats.

Grunert, a graduate of Syracuse University, has been doing business in DeWitt since he graduated college in 1960. He studied geology and was the captain of the ski team, back when the Syracuse University ski team had a 20-meter jump on the Syracuse Hill near Drumlins.

He never pursued a job in geology; instead he opened up a ski shop in DeWitt near the firehouse on West Genesee Street, and also began selling yachts out of a rented barn that sat where Peter Harris Clothes sits now. The store at Lyndon Corners opened in 1969.

Syracuse Yacht Sales now specializes in selling canoes, kayaks, bikes and tennis equipment -- they don't sell yachts. Grunert said they start the season with 70 canoes and kayaks and have to pick up another load by the end of July. Most of their canoe and kayak inventory is from Old Town Canoe and Kayak Company located in Old Town, Maine. Grunert said this brand, which has been around since the early 1900s, the most popular name on the market as of late.

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