Business Spotlight : Confluence Kayaks


"So...how did you get into the business?", I asked as Jonathan and I sat amid a sea of colorful kayaks and things.

Jonathan Kahn is the owner of Confluence Kayaks, one of Denver's premier destinations for not only Kayaks, but also all the gear, tools, and gagdets you'd need to take advantage of Colorado's many adventurous offerings.

Like his shop, Jon is warm and inviting. Unassuming and attentive. In fact, despite having a busy shop, the only time that he paused our conversation was to personally ring up a customer who'd picked up some gear for an upcoming kayaking trip. When I entered Confluence Kayaks for the first time, he greeted me with a beaming smile that was as bright as the rainbow of colors that radiated from each of the shop's walls. I knew that this meeting was going to be a good one.

 

"Well, we got our start in 1995", he smiled.

Like many have noted, Downtown Denver was a very different place from what it is today. At that time, the city was rebuilding the Confluence whitewater chutes. The location, now called the "Platte" neighborhood, was perfect for a kayak shop! And rent was cheap. It was a start-up owner's dream!

15 years and a few locations later, Confluence Kayaks has found its home nestled on the corner of 15th and Platte under Vitamin Cottage grocery. Jon now owns the store with his wife and parents. He employs a staff of 12 including five full time employees.

As we chatted about the ins and outs of owning a kayak shop, Jon made it clear that while it is rewarding, it certainly hasn't been without its challenges. One of which is seasonality.

"Water sports are really only popular 2 - 5 months out of the year", he shared. "But one way we've gotten around that is by diversifying our offerings".

And it's true. Confluence Kayaks is sprinkled with almost everything sports-y you might need from whitewater and touring kayaks, inflatables and canoes, to wetsuits, ski gear, helmets and bikes. They also offer a plethora of rentals and instruction for beginners.

 

In the winter months, Confluence Kayaks switches gears by offering a slew of ski-related services including ski tuning and repair and ski ear rentals. It's truly impressive. (Jon was especially proud of their Sigma tuning machine).

One might think that a relatively small, locally owned shop like Confluence Kayaks might pale in comparison to larger outfits like REI, which also resides in the Platte neighborhood. But because Jon has defined his shop as the go-to kayaking experts, they've been able to form a mutually beneficial relationship in which REI recommends Confluence Kayaks to customers, and vice versa.

The future looks bright for Confluence Kayaks. In fact, by the time you are reading this article (or very soon after), their website should boast an online shopping cart.

If ever you find yourself seeking an adventure, I encourage you to stop by and meet Jon and the entire Confluence Kayaks team. You'll be sure to have a fun time.

 

Contact Jonathan of Confluence Kayaks

Website: www.confluencekayaks.com

Ph: (303) 433-3676

Address : 2373 15th Street, Unit B

Denver, CO 80202


 

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