A boat shop in Salida, Colo., earns a customer service gold star

A few weeks ago I spent a couple of lovely days on the Arkansas River. The trip was twofold. One, myself and a couple of buddies try and get a jump on all the whitewater traffic for a fishing float through Brown’s Canyon every year, and two, perhaps more importantly I was picking up a simple custom frame for a tiny little boat my friend and I are sharing for stealthy fish missions and teaching our girls to row.

We had ordered the frame months earlier, but due to COVID backlogs Riverboat Works in Salida, Colo., said it’d take a while. No worries, I thought. It was a good excuse to head down to the Ark (as we call it) for a few days.

Now, I gotta admit I was a bit of a pain-in-the-arse customer. Not only did I want to float and fish, but I wanted to pick up my boat and frame after we took off the river the last day. Many hours after they were closed. Plus, I had hurt my back and couldn’t do much lifting.

Not ever having met me, the owner, Clint, put the frame together, made sure it fit, then completely disassembled and shrink wrapped it in a tidy little package that was easy for my old-man back to pick up solo. He also wrapped the raft with a cam-strap for easy lifting too. Not only that, he locked both up outside the shop with cables I had brought for this explicit purpose.

I mean, if that’s not customer service, I don’t know what is. To top it all off, once we put the frame together a week or so later we realized there were no oar towers included. I called and without missing a beat or asking for an invoice or photo Clint promised he’d get them right out for a two-day delivery and profusely apologized.

So if you’re in the market for a custom raft frame or boat, do yourself a favor and give the folks at Riverboat Works some thought. You won’t be disappointed.

The incomparable Arkansas River Valley just south of Salida, Co.

By Tim Romano.