Extreme vehicle itself advertises company's mobile adventures

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Passive advertising may work for some businesses, but to reach an active group of outdoor enthusiasts takes a more direct approach.

That's the concept behind Carl Reidemeister's five-month-old company, Xtreme Mobile Adventures, which uses a diesel-powered, tricked-out Sportsmobile with an expandable top to attract attention and bring outdoor advertising on the road.

"The reaction right away is, 'Wow, what is it?'" Reidemeister said while showing off the custom-built camper at his Hamburg Road home in Lyme. "It's a unique platform."

It's also a rolling billboard, with logos of the various companies he represents painted on the sides. The companies include Lyme's own Ashlawn Farm Coffee as well as East Haddam-based Overland Experts, which offers training in off-road driving skills as well as providing vehicles for self-guided expeditions.

The idea for Xtreme Mobile Adventures catapulted off Reidemeister's desire for a vehicle that could explore the country's backroads. His family had rented a 30-foot recreational vehicle on the West Coast, but "it wouldn't take us to the places we wanted to go" - places off the beaten trail, he said.

The Sportsmobile was an expensive proposition - a fully appointed vehicle goes for more than $100,000 - so Reidemeister, a long-time marketing professional who runs local Jackson Hewitt tax-preparation agencies in Groton and Norwich, decided he would try to combine business with pleasure. The idea was to act as an East Coast representative for the California-based Sportsmobile brand - as well as other high-quality, complementary companies selling adventure-sports products and services- during weekend excursions to outdoor expos around the Northeast.

Reidemeister lines up shows to attend, knowing his Sportsmobile will attract the attention of adventure seekers.

Once he has an audience, the expert pitchman hands out brochures or demonstrates products on the spot.

"We're letting potential customers see and feel and hear about these products that are in the vehicle," he said.

So far, Reidemeister says he has logged about 5,000 miles on the four-wheel-drive Sportsmobile, which comes equipped with a solar panel, diesel furnace, microwave oven, refrigerator-freezer, sink, toilet, air compressor, winch, outdoor shower with hot and cold water and overnight space for four once its top is raised the maximum 30 inches.

The wildest thing he has done with the Sportsmobile, Reidemeister says, is to drive onto a stretch of deep sand and park it overnight on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

"To go off on some beach, be 15 or 20 feet from the water, pop your top and spend the night - that's pretty special," he said.

Reidemeister figures his new business is in some ways a stepping stone toward retirement, a time for exploring his passion for adventure travel while keeping his hand in the marketing world as well.

"I just love exploring, to go see things you wouldn't normally see," he said.

l.howard@theday.com

Business snapshot

Name: Xtreme Mobile Adventures

Services: Advertising platform for extreme sports and outdoor adventures

Owner: Carl C. Reidemeister

Location: Hamburg Road, Lyme

Employees: Sole proprietor

Telephone: (800) 370-3308

Website: www.xtrememobileadventures.com

Email: carl@xtrememobileadventures.com

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