Bondy and his wife, Marketa, discovered scuba diving on a trip to Tahiti. "I didn't plan to dive; it just happened," he recalls. "The first time I went underwater, I knew this was for me. It changed my life." He was working in sales for a Canadian automotive company when he heard about Huron Scuba while calling on Johnson Controls in Plymouth. During one lunch hour, he drove over to check it out and was smitten. "I started to come out here for my stuff."
Meanwhile, the Kaspars were busy developing their eCommerce store, iSnorkel, and as that got busier, they decided to sell the retail store. Soon, they were in talks with Bondy about buying the business. "I love sales, [so] being able to sell scuba equipment, it was a no brainer," Bondy recalls.
There was just one problem: Bondy is a Canadian citizen who lives in Windsor. Before he could legally own and operate a business in the U.S., he needed a special "E2 Investor Visa." He'd applied for the visa before buying Huron Scuba, and was told to come back in the first week of August last year for an interview.
He and his attorney were under the impression that he'd already been granted the visa and that the interview was a formality. "The assumption was that the interview meant we had a green light, so we went and triggered the deal [to buy Huron Scuba]," says Bondy. When he went in for the interview a month later he was shocked to learn the permit had been denied.