Confluence sells Pro Canoe and Kayak interest to Zimmerman

Confluence Watersports has sold its majority interest in Pro Canoe and Kayak, a Greensboro, N.C.-based paddlesport retailer with three locations, to former Confluence CEO Andy Zimmerman.
Author:
Publish date:

Confluence Watersports has sold its majority interest in Pro Canoe and Kayak, a Greensboro, N.C.-based paddlesport retailer with three locations, to former Confluence CEO Andy Zimmerman. Justin Evans, Pro Canoe's General Manager and COO, is also a minority investor along with several others.

Pro Canoe, which reported annual sales of $3 million in a recent Business Journal article, is getting a cash infusion from Zimmerman and other investors to the tune of $400,000, which is being spent on new paint, new fixtures, in-store imagery, a big-screen TV in Greensboro for customers to watch paddlesport videos, computer access to the Internet for customers, and restocking shelves, among other renovations that can be completed in-season without disruption.

Zimmerman, who acknowledges that he tried to keep Confluence's ownership of Pro Canoe a secret while he was CEO at the company so as not to "overly concern paddlesport retailers who did business with Confluence," told SNEWS that he is excited about being a mentor for a new retail environment.

"I am not going to be involved in the day-to-day part of the business," says Zimmerman, now CEO of Pro Canoe. "However, I would like to think I am affecting how the day-to-day is done."

And, while Zimmerman is the majority owner of Pro Canoe right now, he told SNEWS that he has left lots of room for current and future employees to have a share of the company.

SNEWS View: Confluence's ownership of Pro Canoe has been a dirty little secret for years now, and we have no idea why. All Zimmerman had to do was say, "We own it," and move on. Instead, the veil created a bit of mystery, whispering, and intrigue that was frankly silly. Consulting our history books -- ones chock full of interview notes and industry feedback -- Zimmerman had a long-time relationship with the former owner of Pro Canoe and indeed used the store to eliminate blems, discontinued products, and overstock items. When that owner came to Zimmerman with the announcement he was going to sell, Zimmerman was naturally concerned that his "gentleman's agreement" not to undercut or compete with established retailers would go by the wayside, and that is how Confluence became an owner of a retail establishment. Justin Evans ran the show on the front end and was, according to Zimmerman, under orders not to undercut retailers or go into another retailer's backyard during the entire time Confluence owned Pro Canoe. Of course, Pro Canoe had a Web presence (www.procanoe.com), and that was sore spot for a number of retailers who kept SNEWS in the information loop insisting that Confluence was competing with them in that manner. The good news is all that finger pointing and grumbling can now stop. Confluence, which has never denied owning Pro Canoe under the new company's new ownership, can operate unencumbered by retail distraction. Pro Canoe can now move forward and diversify its brand presence without worrying about Confluence. That's good all the way around.

Related

Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe under new ownership

After 18 years in the retail paddlesports business, Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe owners Steve and Cindy Scherrer, and Keith Jensen, have sold the Portland, Ore.-based, business to two former employees, Jim Miller and Dave Slover. Both Miller and Slover worked at Alder Creek in the ...read more

Schweizer sells interest in Garmont

John Schweizer, president of Garmont NA, the North American distribution partner of Italian-based Garmont, and his business partner Bill Hill, have sold their interest as of July 1 in both Garmont NA and Garmont to Achille Morlin, president of Garmont. Gord Bailey will take over ...read more

Dukes sell remaining interest in SmartWool

In late January, Peter and Patty Duke sold their remaining minority share of SmartWool to RAF Ventures, a venture investment company that has held the majority interest in the company. Over seven years, the Dukes built SmartWool's product line from socks and accessories, later ...read more

Confluence continues to paddle rough water

Confluence Watersports was forced to eliminate 71 positions on April 19, resulting in 69 layoffs. Of the two who were not laid off, one was a company controller who was let go in January and the company has decided not to fill the position. The other, Keith Wallace, was the ...read more

Confluence Lays off 18 percent of Staff

Confluence Watersports Company has laid off 48 employees in its North Carolina facility and 7 employees in Vermont, Andy Zimmerman, CEO of the Trinity, North Carolina-based company, confirmed with SNEWS on March 29. That leaves 250 employees.Zimmerman insists that despite rumors ...read more