For much of that time, TeGrotenhuis’ business, TG Canoes & Kayaks, was a boat rental store, renting out canoes and kayaks for use on the San Marcos River. Over the years, however, the store’s focus shifted from rentals toward retail.
Today, TG Canoes & Kayaks no longer rents boats but instead sells a variety of canoes, kayaks and boating equipment, such as life jackets and paddles. The store also offers boat repair and customization services.
TeGrotenhuis said an important part of his work is helping people choose the boat that best suits their needs.
“Basically, we want to educate you so you make the decision yourself which boat you want,” TeGrotenhuis said. “Our boats are going to be long-term. They’re going to cost more, but then you’re going to have them for 20 years if you take care of them.”
TeGrotenhuis said COVID-19 actually drove up the demand for boats, since many people were eager to get out of the house, and boating is an activity that can be performed while social distancing.
However, COVID-19 also introduced a new problem in the form of manufacturing backups. Since the beginning of the pandemic, retailers such as TG Canoes & Kayaks have had to order their inventory several months in advance.
“They’re completely sold out on production,” TeGrotenhuis said. “Everything we put in this year is coming here and will be completely sold out. We won’t be able to do any ASAP orders or any in-season orders at all.”
TeGrotenhuis expects the backup to last well into 2022, but he is doing what he can to accommodate the increased demand, including picking up orders that other retailers cancel.
“I told [manufacturers] early on, ‘If anybody drops boats, call me immediately. I’ll take them,’” TeGrotenhuis said. “I’m not even sure what they’re getting. I’ll take them, because I can’t order anything else.”
Despite the complications, TeGrotenhuis and the small group of family and friends who help him run TG Canoes & Kayaks remain committed to supporting the local boating community by supplying experienced boaters and educating those who are just getting started.
“Our main focus is getting people out there,” TeGrotenhuis said. “You know, put them on that river and let that river speak to them. It’s an amazing place to be.”