17 yackalackyStephanie Bentley likes the direction Hope Mills is heading in and wants to be a part of the good things going on in the community. That’s a big part of the reason she and her husband Josh are kicking off a new business, Yakalacky Outfitters NC.

“I have a great passion in making things happen,’’ Bentley said. “I’ve done it before in past businesses. I’m very resourceful and creative. This is going to be a fun thing for the community.’’

The business she is putting together will roll out over a period of weeks, starting first with a kayak rental business that will be based in a mobile format to take the kayaks down to Hope Mills Lake.

Her physical business address, which likely won’t be open until mid-April at the earliest, will be just around the corner from the lake, literally, at 5552 Trade Street in a former paint store.

The building she plans to occupy has been vacant for nearly two years. She’s in the process of cleaning the building inside and out. Once that’s done, she’ll be able to devote full time to installing kayak racks on the trailer she plans to bring her rental kayaks down to Hope Mills Lake.

She has set a tentative date of March 28th to have some travel writers and photographers visit the new business and take a tour of the lake. That event is on hold as the current COVID-19 situation may limit the ability of the writers to travel to Hope Mills until a later time.

But she does plan to crank up the kayak rentals soon, advertising and taking reservations on her company’s Facebook page.

She is working on pricing plans that will make the rental affordable for people who have no experience using kayaks and just want to try it out. She’s also going to have longer rental times for veteran kayakers at a higher price.

“It’s definitely going to be affordable,’’ Bentley said. “I want everybody to be able to afford it.’’

She is hoping to make the Trade Street building more than just a typical store. She wants it to become a place where people can visit, shop and enjoy some time relaxing and socializing.

“We’ll sell bait, fishing tackle and sundries,’’ she said. “We’ll probably have apparel down the road.’’

To save money, and prevent the need to keep the building constantly stocked with kayaks she’s purchased to sell, Bentley plans to work out contracts with different distributors of various water sports products and have them come in on a rotating basis to do demonstrations of their products.

She’s currently negotiating with a company in Texas that makes a unique paddle board with pontoons.

Bentley also plans to offer loaner rods and reels for fishermen and eventually hopes to be able to sell fishing licenses at the store.

She hopes to do some landscaping in the store’s back yard and turn it into a place where people can come and relax in the shade during the summer months, possibly even constructing a small pond with koi or goldfish.

Her primary goal is to offer items that people will want and need when they visit Hope Mills Lake, either as fishermen or kayakers.

While she’s starting with kayaks, eventually she hopes to offer different types of water craft, including canoes, rowboats and possibly even pedal boats.
“The pedal boats are very expensive,’’ she said. “When we get that ball rolling the town is going to let us keep them on the water.’’

Eventually, Bentley hopes to have some kind of storage facility at the lake so she can keep the kayaks there as well and not have to move them back and forth.
She also plans to offer kayak owners the chance to bring their kayaks to her and let her sell them at the store.

She’d also like to sell items made by local artists and craftsmen. “I want to give them an outlet inside the store,’’ she said, “help them and help me.’’

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