• Name: L2 Boards
• Location: 100 Market St., across from the Tennessee Aquarium
• Products/services: The store sells stand-up paddleboards, rents them and offers guided trips throughout the area. Longer excursions to Williams Island, the Ocoee River and elsewhere are available upon request
• Prices: Rentals are $30 per hour, and lessons are $65 per hour. Yoga sessions on the water, island eco tours and paddle-fit classes cost from $25 to $30.
• Startup investment: $50,000. A typical board can cost $750 to $1,500, while a handmade carbon fiber racing board could cost $2,600.
• Annual sales: $250,000
• Target market: Anyone can go, according to owners Mark and Kim Baldwin, with children as young as 12 and adults as old as 90 able to enjoy the sport.
• Biggest hurdle: Because of the sport’s explosive growth, it’s actually difficult to order paddleboards from manufacturers, who have a hard time keeping popular models in stock.
• Biggest reward: “Seeing the smile when someone walks across this passage after trying paddleboarding for the first time,” Mark Baldwin said.
• Challenges in the future: If the economy tanks again, many of the Baldwins’ customers could be reluctant to spend four figures on a paddleboard.
• Lesson learned: “When you’re starting a company, everything takes longer and costs more than you thought it would,” Kim Baldwin said.
• Five-year goal: The Baldwins would like to have a chain of five stores in five years to better keep up with demand and capitalize on their early-adopter status.
• Contact: 531-7873
— Compiled by staff writer Ellis Smith, email@example.com or 423-757-6315
Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...