Opening on Black Friday: Paddle North brings gear made for Midwest to Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A new Grand Rapids store will celebrate its grand opening on Black Friday.

Paddle North is located at 1048 Wealthy St. SE, just east of Diamond Avenue. The retailer specializes in paddle boards, outdoor clothing and recreation gear.

“Getting away from screens as much as you can and just enjoying being in nature has a lot of huge benefits,” store manager Isaac Mogck said. “We try to give some of the tools.”

Paddle North arrived in West Michigan in 2018 when Mogck opened the first retail space out of a small warehouse in Holland. The company opened a second location in the Woodland Mall in 2019. Both those locations are now closed.

Paddle North migrated to the East Hills area in April, purchasing and renovating its newest storefront. Crews spent the last six months repainting walls and installing new floors, windows and a garage door.

(A Nov. 22, 2021 photo shows some of the boards, apparel and recreational gear at Paddle North on Wealthy Street SE, which opens on Black Friday.)

This is the Minnesota-based company’s lone location outside of its home state.

“We’re a Minneapolis, Midwest company, so we’re kind of designing all of our boards and products for the Midwest and the lakes and the rivers and the bodies of water that we have around here,” Mogck said. “So this is kind of our niche. We know a lot about it. We’re right here (to help) with any issues or anything that arises, any questions.”

Mogck says the team at Paddle North grew up paddle boarding, kayaking and spending time up north on the water. Mogck’s cousin Peter Mogck and Matt Frakes founded the company in 2014.

“They wanted to make a board that was incredibly lightweight for their wives and girlfriend at the time to be able to pick up and carry to the water, so that was kind of their original one,” Mogck said.

(A Nov. 22, 2021 photo shows some of the boards at Paddle North on Wealthy Street SE, which opens on Black Friday.)

Since then, the business has grown to five stores including Grand Rapids and just hired its 14th employee, according to Mogck.

Paddle North designs and tests board prototypes in Minnesota, then sends them overseas for manufacturing. The company’s bamboo hardboards and inflatable paddle boards look different than the typical colorful, tropical-themed paddle board.

“We intentionally try to blend in and fit in with nature with all of our woodgrain look,” Mogck said.

The lightweight inflatable paddle boards are made from PVC material. Mogck says thousands of little nylon webs stitched on the inside help maintain the board’s rigid structure when inflated. When not in use, the board can be rolled up and stored in a rolling travel bag also sold at the store.

(A Nov. 22, 2021 photo shows some of the boards, apparel and recreational gear at Paddle North on Wealthy Street SE, which opens on Black Friday.)

One of the most popular items sold by Paddle North is its utility dock, which ties to a boat or dock and acts like a swim platform in the water.

“It’s almost like putting your patio and setting in the water. They’ll hold a lot of weight, upwards of 2,000 pounds. And you can slip and slide on it or you can use it just as a hangout pad. They’re super stable and they’re a ton of fun to have in the water,” Mogck said.

Paddle North also sells kayaks, hats, sweatshirts, sunglasses, hammocks, dry bags, socks, Grand Rapids prints from a local artist and scented candles from a candlemaker based in Minneapolis.

(Prints by a Grand Rapids artist are displayed at Paddle North, located on Wealthy Street SE in Grand Rapids.)

“We’re just stoked to be able to open up at this location. I’m excited to be able to do demos on Reeds Lake in the summertime. Really excited to join the host of other awesome businesses here on Wealthy Street,” Mogck said.

Paddle North will celebrate Black Friday with special pricing on its paddle boards and utility docks. Paddle Boards will cost around $649 to about $1,200 and Utility docks will go for $599 and $699, which is $200 off retail price, according to Mogck.

Paddle North will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Black Friday. Regular business hours will be Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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