By JOE SHOUSE • Progress Correspondent
OAKWOOD – After its initial year in business last summer Auglaize Canoe and Kayak is looking forward to the summer of 2014. Located two miles south of Ohio 613 on County Road 263 (Paulding-Putnam County line), then west on Road 207, sits the livery on the 100-year-old family farm.
Doug and Bonnie Weller, who both retired from careers in sales and teaching, had the dream for several years to one day open a kayak business. They, along with their son, Troy, and wife, Tammy, and their three children, Leva, Amelia and Payton, took a giant leap of faith last year and they have not looked back.
Housed in the converted barn that was built by Doug and some of his FFA friends when they were in high school, the facility serves as the check-in point for those who seek adventure on the Paulding County waterways.
“This is our retirement project. It is what we do to keep ourselves young,” said Doug.
The livery is opened from May 1 to Oct. 1 and it has been everything the Wellers had hoped it would be.
“To be honest, last year was more than we expected. But we are taking it slow and we will add new features to the facility from time to time. This year, we will be offering paddleboards,” said Bonnie.
Those who come out to experience the water consist of all ages. From preschool to those in their 80s have enjoyed the variety of boat trips.
“Last season we had a group of five ladies who came out to camp and then went kayaking the following day. It was their version of a girls’ night out,” said Bonnie.
The canoe and kayak facility has welcomed couples, families, small groups, as well as church youth groups, boy scouts, school groups. EMS/fire departments, and law enforcement groups.
“We have had a wide variety of people attend. We have even had sports teams from local high schools who use the facility as a form of team building,” said Bonnie.
Patrons from surrounding counties have visited the Weller farm and have enjoyed the kayaking and canoeing.
“We have had people visiting family and friends in the area who were from California and Florida who came over and enjoyed the view of the beautiful scenery offered by canoeing down the Auglaize.”
But, at the end of the day, it’s the kids who are the best.
“Everyone always has a good time. People get wet and you hear a lot of laughter when they finish their course along the river,” said Doug.
Auglaize Canoe provides 13 two-person canoes, 22 two-person sit-on-top kayaks, 12 twisters or single kayaks, and new this year will be paddleboards.
“We have something very unique here. There is not much commercialism around the the river which adds to the wide variety of outdoor life. Often times you can witness eagles, river otters, geese, ducks, owls, deer, to name a few,” said Bonnie.
Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. “We are open 6-1/2 days a week. We are not open on Sunday morning so our families can attend church,” commented Bonnie.
For more information, visit www.auglaizecanoe.com or check out Auglaize Canoe on Facebook. They can be reached at 419-594-3456.
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