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Kayak repair shop draws customers from all across the map

Kayak repair shop draws customers from all across the map
Posted at 11:47 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 23:47:13-04

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- A Virginia couple is drawing customers from across the map who are looking to get their boats fixed by their trusted hands.

For Alison Smith, a few minutes of at the shop means a watertight seal and the chance to get back on the water.

"You're sort of one with the boat. You're down in it, so you're right with the water. Anything you do is going to affect where it goes and you can take it anywhere you want to go," Smith, a customer at Turning Point Boat Works, said.

It was Joey Schott's idea and passion that led to the beginning of the business.

"It's something that once you start doing it, it becomes a lifestyle," Schott said.

The business, based in Providence Forge in New Kent County, is built around kayaks.

"If it wasn't for this place, we'd probably be in our two-car garage at the house," Lesley Schott said.

Their business supplies opportunities to an increasingly popular hobby.

"There's a pretty big demand for it because paddle sports has gotten to be so popular," Joey said.

Joey began repairing high-end kayaks around five years ago. One of the few experts on the east coast, the business has been steady and the move helped.

It was the pandemic that would end up changing how they operated.

"It made everybody go outside," Lesley said. "Joey actually took it upon himself to drive up the east coast and pick up repairs for people who needed their boats to be worked on."

"I went to South Carolina to pick up boats. I'd come back with seven or eight boats at a time. And then I'd go to Maryland somewhere and pick up boats as well so we were able to basically stock up our shop with work so we could keep working during that time period," Joey said.

Their customer base ended up expanding as well.

"It's nice to have that word of mouth and over the years, the customers and clients have been coming and seeing us and keep telling their friends and telling their friends," Lesley said.

Oftentimes, there's an entire map of license plates found in their business' parking lot.

"Maine, Connecticut, Maryland. Sometimes, they're coming up to the East Coast and they need to stop by for a quick adjustment or repair," Lesley said.

Chris Coyne drove the four hours from Delaware to get his boat repaired.

"People that I really, really trust. Really trust Joey," Coyne said.

Alison stopped by from Northern Virginia for a quick repair. About an hour later, she was on her way.

"It warms the heart to know there's people out there and they're talking good stuff about us," Lesley said.

However, the shop doesn't only repair kayaks.

"You can get your own custom-designed petrel play kayak as well," Lesley said.

While the two are enjoying the business, they hope that down the line, it will move into someone else's hands.

"I believe Joey and I want to see this place running without us here so we can go and sell boats and go teach and get on the road and do what we love. Go out into the water and teach people kayaking," Lesley said.

Joey and Lesley have had clients from places as far as Canada and Florida. They now have a distributor in Seattle, Washington.