Third Coast Surf Shop to add third store

By Tony Wittkowski | Business Reporter | The Herald-Palladium

BENTON HARBOR — Third Coast Surf Shop will open its third retail store, which will be used for stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, canoes and related accessories.

The new storefront, which will be called Third Coast Paddling, is set to open this spring at 241 E. Main St. in Benton Harbor. The store will be along the roundabout connecting Main and Fifth streets at the former site of Yakz – a canoe and kayak store that opened in 2013.

“We’ve seen interest in stand-up paddleboarding and kayaking grow each year, and this new location will allow us to focus specifically on those customers,” said Ryan Gerard, president of Third Coast Surf Shop. “It will be great to be near the Paw Paw River and to be part of the Benton Harbor Arts District.”

Third Coast Paddling is an extension of the Third Coast Surf Shop brand, which includes retail stores at 212 State St. in St. Joseph and 110 N. Whittaker St. in New Buffalo.

Over the past 10 years, the business has added kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals along the Galien River in New Buffalo, at the Paw Paw River boat launch in Benton Harbor.

Customers can still find stand-up paddleboards at the St. Joseph and New Buffalo stores, but the new location will carry an expanded selection of these products – with the addition of canoes and kayaks.

Gerard said Third Coast Paddling will also be a one-stop shop for those interested in learning more about kayak and stand-up paddleboard rentals, which are available for groups of up to 70 people at rental sites.

The rental sites in Benton Harbor are at the Paw Paw River boat launch and Jean Klock Park Beach. In New Buffalo, the rental sites are at the Galien River boat launch and New Buffalo City Beach.

All equipment, including paddles and life jackets, is provided by Third Coast Surf Shop staff members at the rental sites.

Contact Tony Wittkowski at or (269) 932-0358. Follow him on Twitter: @tonywittkowski.

(Author’s Note: This article was originally published on Jan. 19, 2016)


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