TRAVERSE CITY — Michael Sutherland likes to think of 231 Outfitters adding three more “R’s” to his established outdoor equipment rental business, The River.
“Rental, resale, retail and repairs,” he said.
231 Outfitters marks the next expansion of Sutherland’s business venture, The River. The new location is in Traverse City’s warehouse district on Grandview Parkway across from the Open Space. 231 Outfitters opened Wednesday, and welcomed customers for equipment sales, rentals and repairs.
Sutherland opened The River 10 years ago in Glen Arbor as a gift shop and putt-putt golf course, then expanded with canoe and kayak rentals. He opened the Traverse City location at Clinch Park five years ago with equipment rental and a cafe.
But space at Clinch Park was tight, and finding enough storage for all The River’s equipment stressed the business.
“We’ve been looking for another location,” he said. “We have 35 parking spots (at 231 Outfitters), and you know we’ll also have a higher exposure to a lot of traffic with this location right on the parkway across from the Open Space.”
Customers won’t have to rely on stoplights or crosswalks to cross busy Grandview Parkway and get from 231 Outfitters to The River, which will remain at Clinch Park renting bikes, kayaks, stand up paddleboards, rafts, canoes, longboards and tubes.
“The (Boardman) River is right in the back yard, so people can get on a kayak or a paddleboard right here and float to our other location at Clinch Park,” Sutherland said.
Sutherland is using 231 Outfitters to partner with other local businesses and nonprofits, such as the Traverse City Ale Trail and Red8 Boatworks.