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Bryant, S&B Tubing remain afloat for 25th season
S&B Tubing

ALBANY — On May 25, the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend, Jenny Bryant along with members of her family and several other staff members embarked on their 25th season of making thousands of visitors to the tiny Wisconsin town of Albany very, very happy.

Albany is located in Green County in south central Wisconsin. It has a population of less than 1,200. But during the summer months, the town (nicknamed “the Pearl of the Sugar River”) gets a huge influx of visitors from throughout the Midwest. Why do so many tourists flock to this little village annually? The main reason is to visit Bryant’s S&B Tubing and enjoy spending hours floating without a care down the Sugar River.

“I’ve wanted to own and operate this business since I was a teenager,” said Bryant. “I know it seems like a strange ambition for a kid, but I just fell in love with it when my father first started it in 1999 and I took a job serving ice cream in the shop for $2.50 an hour.”

Prior to making a business out of it, Jenny’s mom and dad would take her and her siblings inner tubing down the Sugar River at least once a summer. They loved it as a family activity that was fun for everyone. As fate would have it, Jenny’s father, Gary Bryant, struck up a conversation with a man who was visiting Albany from Chicago, and the man made an off-the-cuff remark about how he thought it would be a great idea for someone to turn inner tubing down the river into a business. The Chicagoan’s simple statement resounded loudly with Gary, so he decided to find out if the idea would float.

Gary purchased 20 black rubber car tire tubes, borrowed two canoes, and rented the small building that they still use today. He eventually bought the corner location at 100 E. Main Street, painted the building blue, along with making a large S&B Tubing sign, and an iconic building and business were born.

Every year business increased as word got out,” said Jenny. “I was in my early teens when I worked the ice cream counter, but when I turned 16 and got my driver’s license, I started to help mom and dad run the day-to-day operations.”

Along with ever-increasing attendance meant an increase in the cost of running S&B Tubing. The Bryants needed more of everything: more tubes, more vehicles to pick tubers up at the end of the route and give them a ride back to Albany, more employees, more amenities, etc. They just needed more of everything to keep up with the growing demand.

Perhaps constantly trying to stay ahead of the game wore on Gary after a few years. When Jenny was 23, her dad announced the heartbreaking news that he wanted to sell S&B Tubing.

“I was really nervous about it, but I immediately had the idea that I should purchase the business,” said Jenny. “I had been a part of it and it a part of me for so many years that I couldn’t bear the thought of another family other than the Bryants running the show.”

Jenny’s entrepreneurial instincts kicked in and she made a deal with her parents to purchase the business from them on a land contract. They agreed to it.

“I had eyes on creating a different kind of guest experience than what was offered in the past,” she said. “I decided I needed to do some research, which turned out to be very rewarding and also a lot of fun.”

Jenny embarked on a tour of similar inner tubing, canoeing, and kayak businesses across the Midwest to gather information about how others were successfully operating their seasonal businesses.

“The other owners were so nice and supportive,” she said. “It was sort of like visiting extended family because we all have a strong desire to be the best we can be.”

Jenny learned that one of the first things she needed to do was upgrade the actual inner tubes that S&B Tubing supplied to guests. She bought new and much nicer blue tubes with backs, headrests and even cup-holders. She also purchased inner tubes that are specifically made to carry a plastic cooler (Styrofoam coolers are not allowed for fear they would be left behind and pollute the Sugar River). She also added kayaks to S&B’s rental roster.

“These simple changes made a world of difference,” she said. “Tubers always comment on how well the operation is run with plenty of staff, and they have a great time.”

In 2018, Jenny even purchased the landing where a large floating dock marks the end destination of the trip down the Sugar River. Here’s where she has repurposed school busses waiting to return the happy tubers back to their own transportation in Albany.

S&B Tubing is packed with visitors every Saturday, Sunday and holiday from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Twenty-five to thirty people are needed to staff the attraction during these peak periods. Jenny’s mother, sister, and a few nieces and a nephew still help out, making it a family owned and operated business.

“I’d like to spread the word that we are open seven days a week for the entire summer, and that weekdays are much less crowded than weekends and holidays,” Jenny said. “Weekdays are perfect for a quality day with your friends and families when you don’t need to wait in occasional long lines or put up with other inconveniences that sometimes accompany large crowds.”

She said that during the weekdays, she can operate the attraction with as little as six-eight staff. She thinks weekdays are also ideal for first time tubers, of which they get many of during the season, so they can take their time and get how things operate.

“Aside from just being fun and relaxing, our guests can also take in the nature surrounding the Sugar River,” she said. “There is an abundance of wildlife along the way including bald eagles, deer, beavers, turtles, frogs, and lots of birds.”

About S&B Tubing

S&B Tubing is located at 100 E. Main Street in Albany, WI. It is open 7 days a week from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend. Guests travel 4 miles down the Sugar River, which takes a kayak about 1 1/2 hours and inner tubers about 3 1/2-4 hours. The water level and temperature do vary, but on average the water is fairly slow moving and easy going. For the most part tubers can stand up throughout their trip. The water is also safe for children of any age, but adult consent and signature is required for anyone under the age of 18. Albany is a 45-minute drive from Madison and Janesville, 20 minutes from New Glarus and Monticello, and 2 1/2 hours from Chicago. For more information visit or