Updated at 2:40 pm
The Albany Aqua Ducks announced today that its amphibious duck vehicles have been sold to an out-of-state company.
From the company's website:
"Early this year, we announced that the Ducks and Trolleys were for sale. And, both Duck vehicles have been sold," said Robert Wolfgang, president of the company.
"At the request of the Ducks' purchaser, we are not at liberty to say where the vehicles are going. But, they'll be busy and not in New York State," Wolfgang said.
The three Albany Trolleys, a division of the Aqua Ducks, remain up for sale. "The Trolleys will continue to operate as we continue discussions with potential buyers. "The Trolleys have become a very popular mode of transportation for bridal parties and their guests. All booked charters will be honored," Wolfgang said.
(You might recognize Bob Wolfgang's name. He's the former Albany police chief.)
And from an email sent out to supporters:
It's simply time. The owners of the company long ago retired from their first careers. Now it's time to REALLY retire. We have had a great time serving as Albany's unofficial ambassadors. More than 175,000 people enjoyed the tour. And they came from everywhere -- except Antarctica! WOW!
The last duck tour will be July 15. The company says it's contacting customers who had arranged tours after that date.
After the jump, a quick Q&A with Bob Wolfgang about the sale, and what's next.
It's kind of a bittersweet day for you, huh?
That's an understatement. But it was time. All three owners are retirees from other careers. This is a lifestyle business -- seven days a week . We announced at the beginning of the season that we'd entertain offers on the business and I talked with a few people, but nobody wanted to buy. So we got an offer on the ducks from someone who runs a business down south. It was just finalized today.
What did the Albany Aquaducks do for the city of Albany?
I feel we changed tourism forever. When we started in 2004 there wasn't anything other than the walking tours. We became unofficial ambassadors, making people feel welcome. We kind of made them feel like someone cared about them and we showed them what they could do when they were here.
And the local folks had a chance to get reintroduced to a city they'd livid in all their lives. Many of them didn't know the history or the architecture. So often I'd hear people say, "Oh, I never knew that." This would be from people who spent their entire live s living and work ing in the city. ...
Maybe now people will take a look around and visit things and see some of the things
they'd been meaning to see, and support them before they're gone. Go visit the museums
and learn what the city has to offer. There's so many things.
What's next for you?
We're in negotiations now for the trolleys and the charters... there may be something else down the road. You'll see me around. You never know what we'll come up with next. Eight and a half years ago people laughed when we came up with the idea for the ducks, but 175,000 people later, they're not laughing. There are other ideas. But I'm proud of what we did. We had people coming from all over the world. We made them feel special.
It's sad to see the ducks go. We had a fun time on the AOA Troy > Albany Duck tour last month. And we always smiled seeing the vehicle drive by to the sound of quacking.
Oh, so that explains... We got a lot of requests for another Troy > Albany Tour. And we kept telling people something along the lines of, "Maybe... we'd like to... we'll see if we can work it out..." Now you know why.
(Thanks, everyone who sent this to us.)
The Aqua Ducks have advertised on AOA. And we teamed up for the Troy > Albany tour (obviously).
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