Watersports, camping soon easier in Algoma; city to gain outdoor store from Door County
ALGOMA – The city's ability to supply residents and tourists with kayaks and paddleboards — and the gear needed to use them on area waterways — is about to expand, when its first store for that purpose opens soon. And, it's coming from Door County.
Bay Shore Outfitters, which has year-round silent sports stores in Sturgeon Bay and Sister Bay, is opening another store June 4 in Algoma. An official grand opening celebration will take place on a date to be announced.
The store, in the former post office building at 219 State St., most recently occupied by James May North Gallery, will offer services and goods similar to the two Door County locations, co-owner Julie Wilson said. This includes sales of kayaks, stand-up paddleboards, accessories, T-shirts and other leisure wear, clothing and gear for camping and outdoor recreation, along with skiing and snowboarding equipment in winter.
Bay Shore also will have kayaks, paddleboards and bicycles to rent and is buying a plot of land from the city just north of the Second Street bridge for access to the Ahnapee River for watercraft rentals. The city has an existing kayak rental business, but Bay Shore will be Algoma's only outdoor recreation store. It will have four employees, with a full-time manager on site and another full-time staff member.
Wilson and Mark Schuster, Bay Shore's other co-owner, said they were attracted to Algoma as a possible new store site because they feel it's a good fit for both the city and the business. Besides encouraging use of the Ahnapee River with its equipment and rentals, they said they're also encouraging people to use the Ahnapee State Trail and Ice Age Trail, which meander up to Sturgeon Bay and pass near Bay Shore's store there.
"(Algoma) is a community we've been kind of watching and in love with for a while," Schuster said. "It's a quaint lakeside community, it has the Ahnapee River running through it, you can get on the Ahnapee and Ice Age trails there. It suits us in a nice way."
"We're really trying to promote getting people out on the Ahnapee and Ice Age trails, bookended by our shops," Wilson said.
Schuster also said he found similarities between the two Door County communities where Bay Shore has shops and what Algoma is doing to promote itself as a silent sports destination.
"I think when you look at Sister Bay, where we opened over 21 years ago, when you look at Sturgeon Bay, where we opened our second location 11 years ago, and now Algoma, they're all small communities on the water, driven by tourism," he said. "It all fits really well with what we've been doing."
Algoma Mayor Wayne Schmidt said Bay Shore will fill an important niche in the city, which recently has increased its emphasis on promoting silent sports as a main tourist attraction, with kayaking proving to be an growingly popular activity.
"They're a very good business," Schmidt said. "This is just another way we can add something for the tourists who come to town. Kayaking is really taking off here."
Schmidt said Schuster and Wilson approached city officials a few months ago about opening a location in Algoma. He added that he's excited to have Bay Shore utilize a vacant downtown building within sight of the Lake Michigan shoreline.
"We're excited to have them come here," Schmidt said. "It's another new business, another empty building that's filling up. They're a very successful business in Door County, and we feel they can bring that success to Algoma and serve the tourists who visit us."
Wilson said the building proved almost ideal for a new business to move in. The owners of the art gallery that most recently resided there heavily renovated it, and its open space concept for exhibiting art made it easy to reconfigure into a retail space. Wilson said the only major renovation they made was to add a new garage door.
"We were pretty lucky the building was just ready to go," Wilson said.
And Schuster said it was important for him and Wilson to meet with those officials and open a relationship with the city before just moving in and opening the doors.
"When we came to Algoma, the first thing we did was to talk to the city and say, what can we do for you?" Schuster said. "We don't want to just come in. We want to be part of the community."
Bay Shore Outfitters opens its new Algoma location, 219 State St., at 9 a.m. June 4. Tentatively, regular hours will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Sundays. For more information, call 920-487-8215 or visit bayshoreoutfitters.com or the "Bay Shore Outfitters" Facebook page.
Contact Christopher Clough at 920-741-7952, 920-562-8900 or [email protected]
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This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Watersports, camping soon easier in Algoma; city to gain outdoor store from Door County