Thursday, December 22, 2011

Savannah Canoe & Kayak Thanks You

Well, that was a hell of a year !
Thank-you very much, paddlers from all over, and especially the people of Savannah for making this a very special year in the life of Savannah Canoe and Kayak.

This was our 9th year in operation as Savannah Canoe and Kayak, but our first season operating from our new HQ and shop. We have long known Savannah needed a dedicated paddle sports store and we knew if we did not, then some other, lesser qualified operation would step up. Of course, we could not let that happen.. so on January 1st we moved into the new digs on 414 Bonaventure Rd.

With hammer and nail, and a community of paddling painters, we opened the doors to the public 75 days later, and it’s been ‘full on’ ever since. Not your average paddle sports store, this shop has a lot of soul…it was all hand made... falling somewhere between an air museum, an auto parts store, a shipping warehouse and a paddler’s speakeasy. We host live music, drink beer, look at charts, talk about birds, plan trips, fix and build boats, go paddling. We do not sell lifestyle here. This is our tool shop and everything we sell has a function and purpose to enhance any paddlers free time. If one needs reminding, the sign on the threshold says ‘a change of priorities ahead’.

When I was a wee lad my parents owned a corner store. In the evenings, after hours, we would go downstairs and choose some sweets from the counter…I thought ‘how great is that?’…if you like candy, own a candy store! So, how is it being a shop keeper ?, you ask. Well, in several ways it really sucks, but it’s also a great channel to connect with a plethora of diverse people and paddlers, their needs, ideas and conceptions. It has been almost as educational as being a guide and has been another great insight into paddlers, customers and manufacturers.

So, at the end of the year, here we stand. The coffers are empty, but the bills are paid. We have a shop full of rad paddling equipment. We have hired and paid wages to 4 other members of the community. We have supported many other small businesses in Savannah, across the States, in Europe and in Asia. We were a financial sponsor for one of the best events of 2011...the Surf Kayak World Championship's in Outer Banks. We have donated over $2000 dollars to local charities and subsidized church and school paddling trips. We feel pretty good considering we are just a couple of small beings who like to goof off in our boats. For your support and dedication, in getting us to where we are now, we say Thank-You.

We are now closed for the duration of the deep of winter. Drop back in February, when the bar will, once again, be taking orders and we can shoot the shit about that next trip, the perfect boat and the best route to the center of the universe.

Merry Christmas ya'll and a happy new year !
Nigel & Kristin

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