Please welcome Justin and Andrea Wiater to our team! They are Crusin’ Tikis on Old Hickory Lake in Nashville, TN.
Read all about them in the Mainstreet Nashville News.
Local couple to bring floating tiki’s to Old Hickory Lake
Imagine a gorgeous Old Hickory Lake sunset surrounded by friends and family, a favorite beverage at your fingertips, and endless memories onboard a floating tiki boat.
A local couple is gearing up to bring it and more to lake lovers, birthday party planners, those ready to pop the question, bachelorettes eager to usher in their upcoming marriage, or even those just wanting to pop a cold one, enjoy the scenery and simply chill after a yearlong funk of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Locals Andrea and Justin Wiater are an outdoorsy couple with a 1-year-old son, Baker. They are knee-deep in finalizing the launch of their new business, Cruisin’ Tikis, with Old Hickory Lake as their base of operations at Gallatin Marina.
“The Hermitage Party Cove area will be a regular destination,” said Andrea Wiater. “My husband and I grew up on the water, and this is a major adventure for us. I acquired the love of the water growing up, and we always had a boat of some kind. My husband is the same way.”
Both love motorboats, wakeboarding, skiing, and motoring around Old Hickory Lake. Buying a franchise that allows them to captain, explore and give people the chance to go on a tiki cruise was a no-brainer to the couple whose careers are in human resources.
“We both realized we could work from home and moved to Florida from the Mt. Juliet and Hermitage area and worked remotely,” said Andrea Wiater.
They moved to the Sunshine State during the pandemic and took a trip to the Florida Keys.
“We went out to dinner and saw these tikis floating by and thought ‘Why not on the Nashville waterways?’” said Andrea Wiater.
It was a Thursday. They researched their idea with Google’s help all weekend and called about getting a Cruisin’ Tiki franchise for Old Hickory Lake the following Monday.
“Justin was on board right away,” said Andrea Wiater. “For a long time, we have been passionate about starting our own business, and this one checked all the boxes. We’ve been waiting for the right opportunity.”
Yes, it was a wild hair, but one that took root quickly and has grown to fruition with a target first cruise in June. They want to start and nurture a business to leave to their family.
They are currently moving back to the local area. Initially, they met with the franchise owner and took a long cruise on a tiki in Fort Lauderdale. The deal was signed, sealed, and delivered in mid-March, just as the pandemic started to show some easing. Two handcrafted, U.S.-made tiki boats are currently under construction in Fort Lauderdale and will make their way to Old Hickory Lake within weeks.
“What intrigued us is the story of how Cruisin’ Tikis was founded,” said Andrea Wiater. “The founder wanted to build a tiki in his backyard and it got a lot of attention, and he thought ‘Why not build one and put it on the water?’”
Think a floating tiki bar, equipped with barstools, speakers to play music, and a cool captain in the driver’s seat. Justin Wiater is a certified captain, and Andrea Wiater will soon follow. They plan to offer a variety of packages that offer the floating boat and bar, a certified captain and with safety No. 1 on their minds, said Andrea Wiater.
“Each can hold up to six people, and we provide a cooler and a speaker system, a bar and stools, and plenty of room to enjoy either a morning mimosas cruise or a sunset excursion,” Andrea Wiater said.
They will be offered seven days a week with the morning venture at 10 a.m., and the sunset cruises are at about 6 p.m. Most are about 90 minutes and can be booked up to six hours. There’s a two-person minimum.
Hermitage Party Cove is a highly sought-after destination; however, the couple knows Old Hickory Lake like “the back of our hand.”
The couple said their floating tikis will be an inventive, memorable boating experience for a myriad of occasions like weddings, reunions, birthday parties, bachelor and bachelorette parties, and even corporate functions.
“Brunch mimosas, bar-hopping adventures, and real estate showings are also very popular,” said Andrea Wiater.
They are about putting smiles on faces, one cruise at a time, she said.
“Personally, I think it would be impossible not to be smiling on our tikis,” said Andrea Wiater. “It’s a rare experience with so many memories.”