With the recent addition of fly fishing, Adventure Bound onthefly adds to its already first-rate selection of brands and products geared towards the outdoor enthusiast.
All along, the goal has been simple. But John Rounds didn’t think the pieces to the puzzle would fall together as quickly as they did.
Rounds, owner of Ellicottville’s outdoor-centric Adventure Bound onthefly, had a clear cut vision of what he wanted the store to become when he opened the doors in early Octobe4 2015. Ultimately, he aspired to congregate three major pieces of the outdoor industry under one roof - outdoor, paddlesports, and fly fishing - and create a dynamic retail layout.
“I figured that either paddlesports or fly fishing would come eventually, maybe not this quickly,” Rounds said. “But when the opportunity presented itself to add Orvis fly fishing gear, we pounced. The outdoor experience, in a retail sense, has come full circle.”
To understand the genesis of the current Adventure Bound’s advance into the outdoor retail market, we need to look back to the 1970s. Rounds’ parents Chris and Heidi owned the original Adventure Bound, which resided in the same storefront location on Ellicottville’s bustling downtown strip. John, then a lad, experienced the trips, tours and retail in the house his father built.
The Rounds put together excursions of every outdoor type - kayaking, canoeing, camping, skiing, amongst many others - and opened the eyes of many youngsters to the joys of the outdoors. (Writer’s note: Both my dad and Sean Lowes got their start in retail by working for Chris and Heidi at the original Adventure Bound, which parlayed into The Boardroom and The City Garage).
Fast forward to last summer. Residing in Eagle, Colorado, J. Rounds looked home to Ellicottville, where the plans in his head of reopening Adventure Bound began to turn from dreams to reality. The storefront, after changing hands multiple times since the original closed, needed a facelift. A summer of sweat equity and retail build-outs transformed the space from dust and grit to something almost unrecognizable.
After a (very less than) ideal winter that affected the entire town, Adventure Bound is poised for its breakout season. If there was ever a time for fly fishing to come into the fold, it was April 2016. Now, with the seconds ticking towards a warm El Nino summer, the full circle outdoor selection Rounds envisioned has come to fruition.
“The trifecta of what we’re offering is not an uncommon combination,” Rounds said. “If you look at the Backpacker Shop in Cleveland, they appeal to an unbelievably wide range of people who love being outside. The dynamic makes it fun. You might have someone who loves fly fishing but has never set foot on a stand-up paddleboard and wants to try it, or vice versa. Or you may have someone who’s very new to the outdoor world and wants to get into it. We can open up the doors for that person.”
Adventure Bound, which recently underwent some very minor renovations, features sections of the store specific to the interest of the consumer. A vibrant display of Osprey backpacks adorn the gridwall on the left side, while a put-together yellow tent catches your eye and leads you to the camping section. Walk through the adjacent doorway and you’re gazing upon SUPs (stand-up paddleboards), sit-in kayaks, drysuits, wetsuits and anything else you could possibly need to get started.
“A big draw for us, I think, is that we’re offering products that you can’t find anywhere else in town all in the same place,” Rounds said. “Not to mention, having the demo center and rental program up and running will allow someone to come and try something to see if they like it.”
THE DEMO CENTER
The demo center, located at the pond off of Route 219 when you’re coming southbound into town, will feature multiple models of SUPs and kayaks. With the ability to try before you buy, Adventure Bound encourages people interested to get out on the water - free of charge. The demo center will be a major hub of activity for Adventure Bound activities, including an Orvis Fly Fishing 101 course that will take place during the weekend of Ellicottville’s newest event, the Ellicottville Outdoor Expo.
“We’re going to have 15 sets of reels and rods for people to come try fly fishing, which will be free of charge,” Rounds said. “And during the weekend of the Ellicottville Paddlefest (June 18-19) we’ll have Orvis Fly Fishing 201, where an Orvis representative is coming over from Vermont to lead the course. Rates for this are to be decided, but we’re excited to bring something like this to town.”
In addition to the demo center, Rounds and the rest of his crew will offer rentals for both SUPs and sit-in kayaks. Regardless of if you’re solo and want to go out for a while or you’re a corporate or wedding group that wants to make it an all-day activity, Adventure Bound will take care of you.
“For the folks that have places on Lime Lake or Chautauqua, we’re going to do weekly rentals for this stuff as well,” he said. “We want to get as many people out on gear as we can and really cultivate a fun, different aspect of the outdoor world.”
Rounds recently brought Don Boehmer on board, who owned a paddle shop in nearby Machias, NY. Boehmer, whose enthusiasm for kayaking is well documented on his Facebook page, will lead a multitude of the excursions Adventure Bound is planning for this summer. In the meantime, he’s out mapping new spots for people to SUP and kayak on.
When speaking with Rounds, it’s difficult to not get excited for summertime and the things Adventure Bound has planned. But while it’s important for a retail location to have the attitude, the brands you carry hold weight. You can check that box off as well. Patagonia, Orvis, MSR, Confluence (and its family of sit-in kayaks) and Outdoor Research are all the top dogs in the outdoor world.
“We really wanted to bring a lot of new brands and experiences to Ellicottville,” Rounds said. “While we’re all aware of how established the winter is, we think doing some of these things will help grow the summer business as well. If you’ve never gotten on a SUP, or have ever wanted to try fly fishing, we’re here to offer that. It’s going to be an exciting summer.”
For pictures and updates on Adventure Bound, head to their Facebook page (Adventure Bound onthefly), Instagram (@adventureboundonthefly) or website (www.adventureboundonthefly.com).