I have lived here most all my life. At a young age I started working for my Grams doing laundry and dry cleaning for multiple motels / hotels. Sheets and towels service. Dry Cleaning pick up & return for hotel guests. Grams husband ( not my Grandpa) had a beach motel too.
In my 20's I was a salesman - The break up of AT&T and deregulation of long distance brought me to L.D.D.S which became Worldcom. Then Worldcom bought MCI and was in the process of buying Sprint when everything come tumbling down. Ironically, as a top sales rep I had been taking MCI accounts for years - and it was decided I would not fit in the sold surviving Tampa Bay MCI sales office. I call it the reverse takeover. Lucky me, I sold all my Worldcom employee stock options in the nick of time. Dumb Luck. I sold at $81.30 a share - weeks later the stock was worth pennies.
Next I would work for Stuart Arnold Floridas Happiest Millionaire and founder of Auto Trader publishing empire. I sold Studio time & services, was the Celebrity liason, and Stuarts personal assistant. Sometimes I even ran the Studio cameras. Stuart sold Trader Publications to Cox Media for undisclosed millions and some old analog TV production equipment thrown in the deal. This was the birth of CPN Television Studios in Clearwater. We became the Kings of late night Infomercials. Susan Sommers Thigh Master, The Sham WOW Guy, and Grillin & Chillin to name a few. Infomercials died and Stuart sold the Studio to Diamond P sports.
Back in the motel business - I ran the Beach Moorings Motel for several years before being forced out for townhomes. Plus helped Mr. Conti at the Sea Cove & Sandman Motels. Then I went back to Beachwalk Inn as manager for the last 6 years of its life.
It will soon re-open as an 88 room Hilton branded hotel. The old family Inn was torn down and friends asked, "What are you going to do now?" Well I am going to enjoy the beach and go kayaking! I have always enjoyed kayaking and discovering new places here in Florida. So it was suggested by friends I start a kayak tour company and I thought why not? It will be a fun semi retirement gig for me. I get my exercise, sunshine , fresh air and meet nice folks from around the world. I know Tough Life?
I enjoy what I do - otherwise I have no reason to do it. Simply Explained.
I started this biz in June 2017 My business model has been an evolution of happy accidents. I started from the Clearwater Beach Marina, and 1 week after opening the City of Clearwater decided they did not want me to launch my kayak tours from the Marina because of all the other boat traffic in & out of the marina. It's a liability thing. Where else can I go?
This is when I got the idea. I will get a van and just pick up the families at their hotel or vacation rental. You really don't need a rental car here and all the resorts started charging $20. - $30. per day for parking. Now, I can go anywhere! What was suppose to be a small simple semi retirement biz for fun, became way more successful then I ever envisioned or intended. Understand I broke all the rules of your typical kayak tour / rental outfits. We are 1st class here for our 1st class visitors. I remain a one man show, doing everything myself. Including this website. It is my business, my fun, my money and I run the business, I do not let the business run me.
We have fun! That is the whole point of this business. Sometimes we learn how to catch blue crabs, go on the rope swing, swim with the manatees, have squirt gun wars or sift the river bottom for fossils and shark teeth.
Now, 6 years later... I did some simple math. 250 days out of the year would be a fair average. 250 X 6 = 1,500 kayak tours. X an average of 4 guests per tour = around 6000 people I have taken kayaking, all over. All ages. So relax your in good hands. My job is to worry about all the details. Your job is just to show up in front of your hotel and enjoy the trip.