[EDITOR'S NOTE — Each week, this feature section, “Movers and Makers,” will feature the stories of the movers, launchers, entrepreneurs and makers who contribute to the vitality of the Mahoning Valley. This section is supported by our first community partner, Farmers National Bank.]
YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning Paddle and Pedal, a bike, canoe and kayak rental service, started in June with hopes of filling a need in the community for outdoor recreational equipment rentals and encouraging Mahoning Valley residents to get active at any age.
“I am a retired mechanical engineer, and [I was] just sitting around with some friends who [are] into kayaking, and we thought it'd be great to start a business of renting kayaks and bicycles and canoes,” David Kuzma, president of Mahoning Paddle and Pedal, said. “[We’re] filling a need in the community, but also doing something we enjoy.”
“We’re offering the chance for outdoor recreation that requires certain equipment that people might not have, so they could rent it from us. Many kayaks, canoes, bicycles,” he added.
Mahoning Paddle and Pedal expects to open its storefront at 529 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in late summer or early fall. For now, the business is open and operating online.
Customers are encouraged to book a rental reservation online and to meet at the West Avenue boat dock, 15 N. West Ave. Free parking is available at the North West Avenue river dock. Kuzma said the main goal is to get people more active.
“Just about everybody could use the exercise, young and old. I think the recent pandemic has brought out the certain energies to do those kinds of things more so now than before,” he said.
As Mahoning Paddle and Pedal expands, so will it’s services. As of now, it offers a 2 ½-hour kayak rental for $30, with a choice of single person sit-in, sit-on-top or fishing kayaks, as well as a 30-minute bike rental for $15.
Additionally, the rental company also offers a 1-hour “bring your own” kayak or canoe service for $15 per kayak and $25 per canoe, where customers bring their own equipment and Mahoning Paddle and Pedal will shuttle them to their launch point.
Kayak rentals include a life vest, paddle, kayak and safety demonstration. Bike rentals include a helmet, bike lock and safety vest.
Customers will also have the option to store their own kayaks, canoes and bikes at Mahoning Paddle and Pedal when the storefront opens.
According to Kuzma, Mahoning Paddle and Pedal is putting its focus at this time on building relationships with other Mahoning Valley businesses and developing biking routes.
Currently, Mahoning Paddle and Pedal has a relationship with Common Goods Studio and is in the process of setting up a bike rental kiosk to encourage customers of Common Goods Studio to ride the bikes through Mill Creek MetroParks to downtown and drop them off.
Mahoning Paddle and Pedal is striving to have bike rental kiosks at other Mahoning Valley businesses and work with them to promote events, such as biking and kayak weekends, as well.
Kuzma said another goal of Mahoning Paddle and Pedal is to host a social feed on its website and become a point of reference and a place where kayakers and bikers can communicate with each other and share special events and photos.