Victor Myers is the owner of Corridor Paddle Surf Shop, a Garden City workshop, rental service and store that will soon be home to a bar built in a former shipping container.
Myers had been visiting Boise for years in the course of his peripatetic life as a river guide when he decided to put down stakes in Garden City. He had been making stand-up paddleboards and surfboards since 2008, and renting them. He started making them in Garden City in 2010, operating with a workshop, a website, and a mobile rental truck.
Now he runs a three-year-old, 3,400-square-foot retail store and workshop with his girlfriend, and has a busy rental business in the summer. Corridor Paddle Surf Shop is located just one lot away from the Boise River and its whitewater park.
Idaho Business Review spent some time talking to Myers about his business and about Garden City. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
You’ve worked as a river guide for years in Alaska, Belize, Chile, and other places. You were managing a resort. Why leave all that to run a shop in Boise?
Boise is awesome. The outfitter I had in Alaska was super-cool but not very lucrative – not to say my shop is super-lucrative or anything. But I didn’t want to be 40 and living out of the back of a truck, which is what a lot of my peers were doing. Plus I like to build things, so if you’re a transient, it’s a little difficult to have a dedicated workshop.
We shuttle our stand-up paddleboard rentals over to the river on bikes with roofracks that we got from Switzerland. People have fun coming in here. They have different stand-up board experience, a lot of people are taking boards to go down the Boise River.
And we have a huge surf scene that we have helped build here. It’s amazing. The vibes are really cool. It’s basically the exact opposite socially of what you would find in any surf destination, because it’s super-friendly. I was just talking to someone from Hawaii, and their mind was blown. If you’re a traveling surfer, you go to places where you basically have to deal with a lot of nuance and people being aggressive and super-territorial about the waves. Here it’s different, because what we’re surfing is static and there all day. Whatever it is, it’s super refreshing, and it’s totally the opposite of the social environment that you’ll find as an outsider in any surf scene, so it’s really cool.
We have some of the best kayakers in the world who are in and out of Boise or call this place home. But the North Fork just gives out so many beatings that the chip on your shoulder can only be so big. It doesn’t really matter if you’re paddling class 5 or taking a SUP down Class 1, people have a bit of a common thread. They’re at least friendly and cordial to each other. In a lot of places that doesn’t exist.
What’s next for your business?
We want to open a beer and wine bar here on the property, adjacent to the shop. We’ve already had some pre-planning meetings with the city, and we’re meeting with architects right now. We’ll do it all upcycled, out of repurposed stuff.
The building itself will be the shipping container that is already on site. And then it’ll be built out of other things, which is my style anyway. I build surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, and motorcycles here; it’s a full metal shop.
The bar is a 28-foot glue laminate beam that I found in the Boise River.
It probably took me a month and a half to get it completely out of the river. I’d have to pull it out a few feet, let it dry, and then pull out a few more feet. It has probably lost 200 to 300 pounds. It took about six guys to lift it after it had been out of the river for a month. I stood on it and paddled it down. That was kind of a goofy day, but it is a perfect bartop; I can’t think of a better thing to use. I am big on reuse. I have built cars out of shipwrecks.
The bar is going to open in spring of 2016. My partner in the bar, Guy Midnight, is handling the management and sourcing. My parents had a bar and restaurant when I was growing up in Rolla, Missouri, so I understand the business reasonably well. We have really good breweries to draw on here in town, and Idaho wine.
The bar will be called Yardarm. It’s a lost term. It’s part of a ship’s mast, and basically in the maritime world, historically, sailors and pirates wouldn’t be able to have a drink until the sun crested the yardarm.
It’ll be seasonal, the same as my shop – we’ll close in the fall, and open again in April. I work 100 hours a week from April to October, and then I don’t. We usually leave for the winter. I have avoided snow for all of my adult life.
What do you see ahead for Garden City?
It’s off the radar, but not as off the radar as it used to be. We’re definitely getting a big population boom. But the thing is, the growth is on the outskirts. Our bubble is North End to Garden City, where you don’t feel the growth that much.