LAKE STEVENS — A new business is putting paddle boards and kayaks out on the water at Lundeen Park.
It’s the latest in a series of changes at the lakeside hangout. Trees have been cleared, parking spots have been added, new paths lead from the road to the park and the city’s first visitor center has moved in to the former caretaker’s home. The grand opening for the visitor center, which also houses the local chamber of commerce and the city’s economic development coordinator, is planned for July 11.
“The park is getting a lot more use,” Mayor John Spencer said.
Paddle Broz, a business that rents out stand-up paddle boards and kayaks, opened last week in the concession area near the dock and swimming beach. The business is owned by Angela Albriktsen of Snohomish, but was inspired and planned by her teenage son and his friend.
Cameron Albriktsen and Marshall Ross, both heading into their sophomore years at Glacier Peak High School, are avid paddle boarders. It’s a family affair for Cameron, whose parents, sisters, grandmother and Border Collie all go out on paddle boards.
“My mother is almost 70 and she just sits on the board and makes the kids paddle,” Angela Albriktsen said. “We call her queen of the Nile.”
They want to share their love of the hobby with others and offer a new activity on Snohomish County’s largest lake. Paddle boarding and kayaking are increasingly popular summer pastimes.
Kayaking is the most common type of paddle sport in the U.S. In 2010, about 3 percent of the nation’s population age 6 and older had been kayaking at least once that year, according to a 2015 report from the Outdoor Foundation. By 2014, 4.4 percent of the population kayaked. That’s roughly 13 million people around the country who say they kayaked in 2014.
As for paddle boarding, the number of Americans who say they participated in the sport increased from 1.1 million in 2010 to 2.8 million in 2014, according to the report.
The rise in people who want to paddle their way across the water means an opening for new businesses.
Paddle Broz was put together in three weeks, Albriktsen said. She’d contacted Lake Stevens officials about opening at Lundeen Park but was told there was another proposal for the space. About a month ago, she received a call that the concession area was open and she could lease it. She got her business license, insurance and inventory and moved in over Father’s Day weekend. Cameron and Marshall designed uniforms and logos. Albriktsen hired them and other local high school and college students to work at the rental shop for their summer jobs.
It’s an impressive turnaround. Albriktsen should teach classes on starting a small business, interim Lake Stevens city administrator Mary Swenson said.
Paddle Broz rents out boards and kayaks by the hour. It’s open from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week, weather permitting. Heavy rain, wind or thunder and lightning are causes for closure, Albriktsen said. There are 15 paddle boards and four kayaks available to rent, $20 for the first hour and $15 for each additional hour. There also are snacks and soft drinks for sale.
Employees can provide basic instruction to novice paddle boarders or kayakers. Wearing a life jacket and safety whistle is required with the rental. All of the teens working there have been certified in first aid and CPR and have taken a paddle sports safety course, Albriktsen said.
There’s been a lot of interest since the new business was announced but Albriktsen can’t be sure how well it will do until there’s a stretch of sunny days. It’s a weather-dependent endeavor, she said. It’s also her second business. She and her husband own Ecoworks Homes Inc., a general contracting company.
“Kind of my vision with opening this one is that it’s something we love to do as a family,” Albriktsen said.
Last year, friends teased her about driving around all summer in a car full of kids with three paddle boards strapped on top. Now they can come tease her at the shop, she said. Paddle Broz isn’t hard to find once people get to the park at 10020 Lundeen Parkway.
“They can look for all the bros and one mom,” she said.
Kari Bray: 425-339-3439; firstname.lastname@example.org.