NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — This summer, the lack of rain began hurting canoe and kayak businesses across Middle Tennessee.
River levels were so low, businesses couldn’t get customers out on the water, and some were even dealing with damage to their boats.
Now, months later, river levels are still low as businesses try to close out their season.
“In 1999, it was -.05 and for comparison, today it’s .72, so it’s about eight or nine inches difference,” said David Spear.
But that difference is enough to impact Spear’s business.
“I mean it’s pretty slow,” he said. “We don’t have too many people coming.”
For 50 years, Tip-A-Canoe has provided canoes and kayaks for those looking to travel down the Harpeth River, but this year has been a tough one for the business.
“The first part of the summer was pretty good,” said Spear. “The second part of the summer once we got around to Fourth of July was much slower than usual.”
The lack of rain impacted river levels, especially over the summer.
“Normally, we all really depend on the peak summer months, so it really hurts when there’s anything that lowers demand to go,” said Spear.
In July, News 2 visited Red River Canoe in Adams which was also struggling and dealing with damaged boats.
Spear says low river levels along with the economy have hit most of the canoe and kayak businesses in the area.
“We all struggled to have enough staff this year,” he said. “I’m pretty sure at least most all of us had to raise our prices this year, and that doesn’t help with the economy but we had to with gas prices and increased labor costs.”
It’s been a tough couple of months, but Spear is hopeful things can improve before he closes for the season.
“If there’s business to pay people then I’m open as long as I can be open,” he said.