How To Quit Your Job And Become A Leading Kayak Retailer | Adventure Kayak Magazine | Rapid Media
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Y’ALL CAN CHANGE YOUR OWN OIL: EX- MECHANIC MCGIVOR ENJOYS A DAY ON THE WATER IN CENTRAL VIRGINA. Courtesy Bob's Up The Creek Outfitters

"I don't turn wrenches anymore"

How long have you been in the kayak business?

It’s been three years this July. I did it on a whim as a sideline to an auto repair business I’d been running for 36 years. It did so well within three months I opened a second store. I don’t turn wrenches anymore.

What brands do you carry?

I have Vibe Kayaks, Bonafide, Crescent and Three Waters—a division of Feelfree. Our cus- tomers are predominantly fishermen but we also have a lot of people who are just floaters.

How did you get invovled in the kayak game?

My 15-year-old son talked me off my bass boat and into a kayak. I found out about Vibe Kayaks in the process of looking for what to buy next. I thought, I have retail space, why not try it for a business and see what happens.

So you started selling kayaks out o fyour auto repair shop?

Yeah. I actually had somewhat of a showroom where I sold dirt bikes and four wheelers. I started with just nine kayaks and it just took off.

So can folks get an oil change and a kayak at the same time now?

No, not now. There are probably 250 kayaks where the lifts used to be.

What challenges have you faced?

The cost-cutter stuff is an issue. We have Walmart selling kayaks. We have Tractor Sup- ply and Dick’s selling kayaks. Some people are just looking at the price tag and they’re going to buy cheap. I don’t cater to that crowd.

What's your answer to that?

Our job, more so than just selling boats, is mak- ing sure customers purchase the right boats. We tell them what to look for and encourage them to shop around. We don’t sell to everybody who comes in the door, but the majority of people will at some point end up back in here.

How does that work?

Let’s say I put something in your hand and say, “This will catch fish.” If you go catch fish with it, pretty soon you’re going to come back in here and ask, “What are they biting on now?” And then I’m gonna sell it to you and you’re gonna go catch more fish. If you go to Walmart, nobody there can tell you that.

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