How did Southpaw Outfitters come to be.
Hello, my name is Ray McKee one half owner of Southpaw Outfitters LLC. Originally in 2018 the company I was working for fell on hard times and had to go out of business, thus leaving me to decide where my next adventure would lead. So while I the midst of looking for my next career path my wife (Lisa) and I would talk about available opportunities. While having been in the trucking industry for 20 years I made a decision it was time to move in a different direction. I had many business ideas, my wife had many reasons why each idea wouldn't work, at least for us anyway. As we were talking one day I brought up how we enjoy tubing, kayaking, hiking and other outdoor activities. Lisa much to my pleasure said, I think that would work. So here we go. Between the both of us we used the little money we had put back and started filing all the paperwork through the state and local governments to get the business legal. We also contacted a small business in Pennsylvania that we would not be competing with to get a lead on business insurance for our industry. Once we made it through "the process " I thought, wow, I'm worn out and haven't even started working yet. Now we go and buy twelve single kayaks to get us started. Day one we get a schedule for 4 shuttles. The group was so excited to see this service offered, we talked and laughed the whole ride like we had known each other for years, next thing you know they are calling on a regular basis asking if the yak Uber is available. I immediately knew we made the right decision on starting this business. I was an absolute delight meeting people that love and want to use your business. Many people at the start told me it wasn't worth doing "it wold be cheaper for someone to go buy their own". However the amount of people who don't have a way to haul their own or not enough room to store and even feel they won't use one enough for it to pay for itself is enough to sustain us until we find additional revenue streams. We felt for opening in June of 2019 and not having a full season in we did pretty well. Now for the off season, it's time to find some part-time work to carry us through. While we learned about the good and the possibilities, we also learned weather is a major factor. We had to learn how to read the water level, flow rate and make judgment on when it is to dangerous due to high swift water or when it was not a good experience for folks due to low water and customers having to portage and walk to often. One other local issue we face is any local dam is a spillway, meaning when a lake fills enough water exits the lake through the spillway into the creek, there is no way to control the water level. It is all about Mother nature. Now on to year two and what can we do to add to our business. Fortunately due to friends and good experience from customers we had some larger groups book, family gathering, boy scout troop and some private school groups. After one scout group went the local council leader reached out and had us do child prevention training and a background check, this made us eligible to do merit badge training for any scout troop in the country. Year three was much of the same, we did keep adding to groups and even did a kayaking seminar for Cabela's as well as putting some kayaks on the river for the fourth of July fireworks celebration. I hope this was an interesting read for this being my first attempt at a blog. We look forward to telling more of our story and our ever evolving business and we welcome any questions or requests along the way. We will soon post again with the furthering of our story. Thank you to anyone that took time out of their schedule to read about us and our adventures.