Florida Paddle-sports, formerly of 3015 Pine Island Road, Cape Coral, has relocated to 4299 Pine Island Road, N.W., Matlacha two doors down from Bert's Bar and Grill and just two miles from their old location.
Jory and Lisa Pearson started in the kayak business at Bear Lake, Calif., in 2006. In 2009, they relocated to Southwest Florida.
"My wife and I have a sailboat and like to sail," Pearson said. "So we decided to move into the Burnt Store Marina area."
When they relocated to Southwest Florida, they shipped about 20 kayaks here.
"We stored them in our garage and my mother-in-laws garage," Pearson said. "We started to rent them out and business began to pick up so we decided we needed a retail location."
In an attempt to keep costs low, they moved into 3015 Pine Island Road, in the Publix Plaza at Burnt Store Road.
"We knew not being on the water would pose a problem but we overcame that by making kayak deliveries to our customers," Pearson said.
"One of the reasons I decided to go into this business is that I've been kayaking for about 20 years and over the years of renting, I realized that most of the rental equipment isn't very good," Pearson said. "Also most people simply aren't that happy with the big retailers. I felt there was a market for a better quality kayak at only a slightly higher price. And the end result would be a safer, better experience for the renter or purchaser."
Pearson believes the best way to choose a kayak is to spend some time in the one you are interested in.
"You can't spend 15 minutes in a kayak and decide this is the right one," he said. "It takes much longer to know if it is the right fit for you personally. You should spend at least a couple of hours in the kayak you are considering buying."
Florida Paddlesports carries only the best kayaks: Yakima, Thule, NuCanoe, Airflo, Ram and YakAttack in about 35 different models.
"We don't stock the products that make us the most profit but we do stock the products that we find to be the best," Pearson said. "We use them ourselves to see how they hold up and then if they're good enough, we add them to our rental fleet. If a product isn't up to our standard, we discontinue them."
After a few years of building the business in a strip center, Pearson decided to find a location on or near the water.
"My wife and I spend so much time on Matlacha and Pine Island this is where we wanted to find a location where we could serve our customers better," Pearson said. "One day we were driving through Matlacha and I saw that this place was empty. I spoke to Bernard (owner of the property and Bert's Bar) and he asked whether parking would be an issue. I had already spoken with Andy's Island Seafood across the street. He has a very large lot and he graciously approved parking for our customers."
Florida Paddlesports offers kayaks for purchase and rental, paddleboards for purchase and rental, the existing clothing line is being expanded, accessories and even supplies for fly fishing.
For additional information, call 239-214-8300.