30 In Their Thirties: Scott Schoeneberger, Managing Partner, Bluewater Technologies, Wixom

It was late one night in the summer of 2020, and neither Scott Schoeneberger nor his wife, Chanel, could sleep.
Scott Schoeneberger // Photo by Trever Long

It was late one night in the summer of 2020, and neither Scott Schoeneberger nor his wife, Chanel, could sleep.

“We ended up chatting through the night about what we could do to get through the pandemic,” says Schoeneberger, managing partner of Wixom-based Bluewater Technologies, which creates live experiences for corporate and convention clients.

“There’s two things we were looking for. One was to keep our team largely employed when they were all just sitting around with nothing to do. And two, everyone in our community was harbored inside and uncomfortable. So the next morning, we went into work and told everyone, ‘We’re gonna take all our gear and throw it in the woods.’”

The result was the creation of what the couple called Glenlore Trails, which offered people an opportunity to step out of their homes and into an immersive evening walk along a half-mile path in a rustic area in nearby Commerce Township.

“We just lit up the woods,” Schoeneberger says. “We put in these really cool video displays and told a story. We launched in August of 2020, and a handful of people came through and took pictures and put them online. On the second weekend, ticket sales went through the roof. Every spot sold out, and we ended up opening additional days.”

Glenlore Trails not only thrived, but in 2023, its fourth year of operations, more than 95,000 people were welcomed four nights a week during a 14-week period — many from far beyond the immediate area.

“In the fall, we probably get 1,800 to 2,200 people a night,” Schoeneberger says. “Once we hit the Christmas season, it’s upward of almost 3,000 people because it gets darker earlier and, weather-permitting, we’re able to stay open until 11 o’clock or so.”

Once the pandemic receded and Bluewater’s regular business — they’re a systems integrator and provider of creative technology for events — resumed, there wasn’t a chance Schoeneberger was going to shut down Glenlore Trails. “People were telling me it had become their new family tradition,” he says. “I’m gonna be the guy that kills a family tradition? I don’t think so.”

Instead, Schoeneberger offers his corporate and convention clients the opportunity to create events and experiences similar to Glenlore Trails. With a collection of several entities that were consolidated under the Bluewater brand, the firm was a front-runner in touch-screen kiosks before evolving into creating and operating multimedia presentations for General Motors, Chrysler, Kellogg’s, and Nike, to name a few.

In turn, Bluewater’s themed-entertainment division is projected to account for 25 percent of the company’s revenue by decade’s end. And due to their popularity, the night walks have been expanded from a half-mile to a mile.

“It’s been fun, and now it’s part of our culture and DNA,” Schoeneberger says. “I like making people smile, and I’m happy when we’re able to make a positive impact in the world.”