116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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Eric Grodt has been a kayaker for a couple decades. But it wasn’t until about five years ago that he decided to turn is avocation into a shop where he could encourage others to find a love of paddling.
That’s when Grodt opened Up a Creek in Central City as a specialty kayak sales store, one of very few in Eastern Iowa.
Along with kayaks, Up a Creek also stocks paddleboards, canoes and trailers for on-the-water adventures. They also offer lifejackets, paddles, water bags and much more.
“Basically if it goes along with paddling, we carry it,” Grodt said.
“I’m all about helping people get the right boat for the way they want to use it,” he said, maintaining that’s a big advantage of shopping a specialty shop versus a big-box store.
“I’ve done a lot of kayaking myself and I can help people figure out what they need, how they are going to transport it and answer questions.”
Up a Creek only carries mid- to high-end models in the store, Grodt said, because quality matters and make a difference in your paddling experience.
And he said the industry has really grown.
“Back in the old days, kayaking was not nearly as comfortable,” said Grodt, noting that things were very specialized when he started kayaking 20 years ago.
“We've made a lot of advancements, but some of the biggest ones are on the stability and comfort. A lot of people come in here and don’t realize that.”
Owner: Eric Grodt
Address: 340 E Main St., Central City
Phone: (319) 438-6737
As with many other industries, Grodt's has faced supply-chain issues causing stock issues in his store. And there often are small changes with Department of Natural Resources rules and regulations each year.
But Grodt said it’s his job for his customers to stay on top of that.
The shop is located very close to the Wapsipinicon River, and Grodt said he likes offering a small town, locally owned feel to his store.
Helping more people find a connection to nature keeps him inspired in his work.
“Time and again I've had people come in and they are looking to get their first kayak and say they haven’t done too much on the water,” he said.
“Then they come in six months later to grab something else they need and they tell me how much more they are kayaking and how much they love it. … I’m just here trying to get as many people out there who can better enjoy nature and enjoying the waterways of Iowa and beyond.
“It helps people pollute less and look up at the sky and the trees and just appreciate it all a little more.”
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