Who are Canoe and Kayak Store?
Canoe and Kayak Store is an independently owned, specialist paddle-sport store based in Gloucestershire.
Our roots trace back to the year 2000 when Richard was offered the chance to buy an existing canoe business. Loving the industry but not liking the company he decided to set up his own – opening a shop in Gloucestershire and leading to where we are today!
The first years were difficult as we worked hard to earn the respect and trust of manufacturers, to allow us to sell their products, and paddlers, to buy them with the confidence that we were giving them the best advice.
In 2001, we endured the Foot and Mouth epidemic that effectively stopped all paddling for many months and, of course, the knock on effect of virtually no sales. We even asked ourselves if starting a business on April Fools Day had been a good idea. The fact that we are still here all these many years later is proof that it had been a good idea and we are still trying our best to live up to our promise of being the best provider of paddling kit.
In the early days, the manufacturers sold directly from their factories (or garages in some cases) and paddlers accepted what they were given. We joined the canoe business at a time when it was emerging from being a cottage industry and becoming more professional. It was very exciting as paddlers got used to having more choice and clothing got more technical and of better quality.
Our ethos was that we would give this choice to the paddling community and back it up with impartial advice to ensure that everyone got the right kit for what they wanted to do at a fair price.
As time passed and the internet became more powerful, we embraced the change and evolved to put together an e-commerce website offering products to a much wider audience. The problem was to do this and still provide great service. How do we give the best advice without being face to face with the customer? Well, we try to do this by making our product pages informative and encouraging customers to contact us by email or telephone if they have any questions. We also use social media to give paddlers as many ways as possible to communicate with us.
If possible, please come into our stores and we will help you in the old fashioned way of talking face to face, over a cup of coffee if you want one. Of course, we also try to ship products as quickly as possible as well.
Richard Bennett - The Boss
First got in a kayak at the age of 11, stopped paddling for many years, and started again in the hope that his little daughter would want to join him on the water and now the almighty leader of Canoe and Kayak Store. His passion, experience and drive has helped lead Canoe and Kayak Store to become what it is today.
Nigel Stephenson – Gloucestershire Store Manager
30 years of paddling experience, a qualified coach and a Crocs enthusiast - Nigel is an open canoeing veteran. Is very passionate about OC1 paddling and will happily take you out for a demo on request!
Aaron Boyer - Sales & Marketing Manager
Aaron's initial attempt at kayaking was a mixed bag of emotions. He found great enjoyment in kayaking, but was not fond of the outdated, custom-made kayak his grandfather had gifted him, which was made of fiberglass. Having worked in the outdoor industry for nine years prior to joining a Canoe and Kayak Store, Aaron has amassed a wealth of knowledge about outfitting and the practical application of paddlesports. His eagerness to learn and try new things in the realm of paddle sports has always been a driving force for him.
Ben Rust - Warehouse Manager
Ben started working for our company in 2021. Ben loves all outdoor activities, if he’s not out on the water paddling with his family, you will quite often find him in the forest on his mountain bike.