Steve and Kit Marshall had been visiting the New River for more than 10 years from their home in South Carolina. During that time the Marshall’s met with staff at the Blue Ridge Crossroads Small Business Development Center (SBDC) considering business ideas and attending training classes. They are experienced entrepreneurs having owned several in the past. In 2013 they made the leap to Fries, VA making it their permanent home. Steve has been an avid kayak angler for many years and noted that the increased popularity of kayak fishing combined with the fantastic river-fishing venue of the New River made Grayson County a perfect place for a new kayak store.
Paddleyax Kayaks opened in May 2016 on Main Street in Independence, VA. Paddleyax is a full service retail location selling Vibe kayaks, NuCanoe kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, and paddling accessories. Along with kayaks and SUP’s, Paddleyax offers fishing gear, clothing and recently expanded into archery and hunting equipment. They will continue to add new product lines and plan to expand into hiking and camping over the next year. “The SBDC provided assistance with the business plan and gave me a great starting point with financial projections. I’m glad to say we exceeded those projections in our first season of operation.” shared owner Steve Marshall.
Paddleyax Kayaks participated and received first prize in the Mount Rogers Business Challenge. The challenge was a competitive process to help foster business growth in the tourism sector in Grayson County. Organized by Blue Ridge Crossroads Small Business Development Center and Grayson County Tourism, the challenge provided hands on business training and networking. Each participant was required to attend classes, write a business plan, and present their business concept to a panel of judges.
The Marshall’s invite you to visit their store in Independence, take a lazy float on the river, and enjoy everything that Southwest Virginia has to offer.