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Kayak questions lead to store
A New Port Richey couple hear "Are you renting?" and sense a business opportunity.
By JODIE TILLMAN, Times Staff Writer
Published August 7, 2007
Aden Smith, 2, learns the family business from his cousin Michelle Jacobs, 14, both of New Port Richey on the Pithlachascotee river at Simms park. Their family runs a Kayak rental service, Makai Kayak and Canoe, on the river.
[Zach Boyden-Holmes | Times]
NEW PORT RICHEY - Lots of business owners look at traffic or demographics when deciding where to locate. But Arden and Joan Anderson had another question before they opened up shop:
How far away is the river?
The Andersons are preparing to open their kayak and canoe rental and sales shop at 5323 Main St. this month. Rental boats will take off at the nearby public boat ramp on the Pithlachascotee River.
The slogan for the new Makai Kayak & Kanoe? "Join us as we rediscover the beauty of the Cotee River!"
"Parts of it are like in Daniel Boone's day," said Arden Anderson.
Though New Port Richey leaders and residents often emphasize the uniqueness of having a river run through the city, few downtown businesses require, or reflect, the Cotee's presence.
"Any business like that coming to downtown is great," said city Parks and Recreation Director Elaine Smith. "And to promote the river is great."
The Cotee snakes past Sims Park in downtown and on through the James E. Grey Preserve in the city's southeastern corner.
Officials will be in a better position to showcase the canoe trail once the final phase of construction at the Grey preserve is completed in November, Smith said. That construction includes boardwalks, a pier and a bridge. Once it's completed, Smith said, officials hope to eventually have a "blue trail" that will connect Grey to other parks, including the county's Robert K. Rees Memorial Park on Green Key Road.
The Andersons, Pennsylvania natives who have lived in Pasco since 2000, started buying kayaks about two years ago as part of a ministry outreach program aimed at young people. One of Joan's sons built a kayak trailer, and everywhere they went, they got the same question:
Are you renting?
Sensing a need, the Andersons - he is an electrician and she worked as a nursing assistant - decided to open a business.
The couple say they want to appeal not just to rugged outdoorsy types, but also to families with small children who might not want to spend hours on the river. So they've set rental rates for the boats by the hour, by the half day and for a full day.
A single kayak can be rented for $10 an hour, $35 for a half day and $70 for a full day.
"We want to be flexible and accommodate all people," Joan Anderson said.
The Andersons need City Council approval for their shop since sporting goods businesses are neither explicitly permitted nor prohibited in the downtown.
At the first of two required hearings, the council approved the business. The final hearing is tonight.