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Entrepreneur stirs up cooler controversy on hike-and-bike trail

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TWC News: Entrepreneur stirs up cooler controversy on hike-and-bike trail
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Despite scorching summer heat, there are always runners on Austin’s hike-and-bike trial all hours of the day.

Needless to say, water is a necessity.

Most runners rehydrate at the usual coolers put out by RunTex at Auditorium Shores and underneath the MoPac bridge. However, entrepreneur and fifth generation Austinite Conley Covert set up his own five-and-a-half foot cooler stand.

Covert makes money off of the ad space on his cooler, but it isn’t money in his back pocket, it’s going back to the community.

"I have the next three months booked in advertising and I'm projecting $13,000 a year that I can give to a trail charity," he said.

Still, the stands don't fly with the city. The Parks and Recreation Department took them down Wednesday.

"If businesses want to do that kind of advertising on public land they have to go through our department," parks spokesman Victor Ovalle said.

For years, RunTex had provided coolers along the trail without a permit. Ovalle says the running retailer is in the process of getting one, but the orange coolers everyone is used to have stayed put.

"I don't really see the difference personally," Covert said.

Conley got the idea for his contraption when he noticed that when cups are out on the trail, people stack RunTex’s coolers on top of each other to drink right from the spout.

For the time being, quenching your thirst the “Covert way" will just have to wait.

"I really just wanted to create a better system than what was already in place and hopefully I'll be successful in doing that and raise a lot of money for the trail at the same time," Covert said.

Covert's next mission is to set up a meeting with the city. He's confident he can get the permits he needs to get back in business. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP