Here at Bay Shore Outdoor Store we believe that Door County, and the environment as a whole, is something to preserve and appreciate through respectful recreation and education. Whether visitors are renting bikes in Peninsula State Park, kayaking the Mink River or snacking and shopping at beautiful Nicolet Beach, as a company we aim to leave them with an enjoyable experience and a deeper understanding and appreciation for our beautiful surroundings.
We strive to support foundations and organizations like the Door County Land Trust, the Ridges Sanctuary, and the Newport Wilderness Society among others and to partner with them on expeditions and events. We also believe that outstanding customer service is at the core of our company. With more than 30 years of serving the Door County community in outdoor activities, we hope to give every customer the best service possible and to provide outstanding products, instruction, and services to those trying to experience Door County outdoors.
Meet the Owners
The company originated as Sailboat Rides in 1980 between owners Peter and David who were operating sailing charters aboard privately owned vessels in Fish Creek harbor. In 1981, the partners purchased their first company owned vessel, a 27' Stiletto catamaran named “Ace”. This cat was added to the existing day-sailing charter activities. At this time, Sailboat Rides was booking its activities through a bait shop shore facility in Fish Creek, formerly “Hook, Line and Sinker” but what would soon become known as “The Boat House”.
Rick Wylie joined the partnership in 1983. The three partners purchased another Stiletto catamaran, “Deuce,” and opened a second Sailboat Rides location at South Shore Pier in Ephraim, site of the present Ephraim Kayak Center. During the following winter's off-season, the partners operated one Stiletto at the beach in Ft. Myers Beach, FL.
The Boat House began in 1985 when the partners took sole possession of the bait shop. While continuing the Sailboat Rides from both Fish Creek and Ephraim, the partners expanded existing rental activities for mopeds and paddleboats. Over the course of nine rental seasons, “mopeds” became a synonymous with The Boat House and became an expected part of our summer landscape. Although a successful part of the company's business, the decision to sell the moped rental business was made and a Fish Creek buyer, Edge of Park, Inc., was found in 1994.
Incorporation followed in 1986, and the “Sailboat Rides” partnership became “SBR of Door County, Inc.” Rental activities at the Boat House lengthened the active business season from three months of sailing to a full six months between May and October annually. The three partners continued to do the charter sailing aboard the Stilettos while operating The Boat House rental location, now with the help of full and part-time employees. Beginning in the mid-80's, each partner involved himself with a variety of yacht delivery and charter activities.
The development of Ephraim Kayak Center began in 1988 when the corporation assumed control of the sailboat rental concession at South Shore Pier. By 1994, the expansion that occurred at Ephraim included windsurfing rentals, windsurfing lessons, as well as sailing rentals and lessons.
Nicolet Beach Rentals opened in 1989 when the corporation bid for and was awarded a State of Wisconsin concession contract for operating the boat rental business in Peninsula State Park. The concession to rent bikes had, up to 1989, been under the control of the park store. These two rental activities were consolidated under the direction of SBR, Inc. Nicolet Beach opened with three full time employees who served as rental assistants, and windsurfing and sailing instructors.
In 1994, the corporate entity of “Nicolet Beach Concessions” was awarded an assignment agreement for operating the Nicolet Bay Camp Store and Nicolet Bay Snack Bar which had been under the management of the Peninsula Golf Association.
A full time sailing charter captain was hired in 1990. Each of the three owners were now concentrating on the management and operations activities at each of the five business sites-company growth unfortunately required they remove themselves from the activity that originally drew them to the county and their business…sailing.
In 1999, the partners decided to take on a new business venture and purchased “Mac's Sport Shop” on Highway 42 in Sister Bay. Their vision was to open a retail and rental location for all outdoor activities in Door County and specialize in the growing popularity of kayaking. They named it Bay Shore Outdoor and it became the first entity of the business that operated year-round specializing in kayaks, high-end apparel and footwear, and kayak tours and rentals in the summer and focusing on cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter apparel in the quiet months.
Bay Shore Outdoor Store continues to grow and change as the years roll on, but the three owners feel that they've never lost touch with their original roots in the county. From all the years living in downtown Fish Creek, to sailing in all parts of the world, Rick, Pete, and Dave continue to bring their knowledge and business sense from all walks of life. Above all, they are happy to provide visitors to Door County with pleasant activities for the whole family and continue to look forward to long summer days working on the beach or on the water and to the hustle and bustle of Door County life.