BANGOR, Maine — A business setting up shop in downtown Bangor will rent bikes, kayaks, paddle boards and skis to help locals and visitors explore the community in new ways.
Jamie McDonough hopes to open Explore Bangor about mid-March in the storefront at 25 Hammond St. next to Giacomo’s.
“I’m targeting people who say they haven’t ridden a bike since they were kids,” McDonough said during an interview Thursday.
The first floor will serve as a retail space, selling accessories that people might need for their adventures, socks from McDonough’s family’s business based in North Carolina, candy and more. The store also will have information about attractions and suggestions of where people can go and what they can do while they’re out and about. Upstairs will be storage for the modes of transportation.
McDonough’s business will organize guided tours of the area. For example, groups might paddle up the Kenduskeag Stream canals or along Bangor’s waterfront down to the Hampden Marina for a picnic. Tours will be arranged at times when the tides are best for paddling.
“It will be around the same cost as going to a movie, but it will be a more enriching experience,” McDonough said.
McDonough hopes the rentals will be popular not just for tourists visiting Bangor, but also for locals who don’t have bikes or kayaks of their own who want to get out and get active.
Explore Bangor also is working with the city in hopes of building a kayak and canoe storage facility on the waterfront.
Tanya Emery, Bangor’s economic development director, said Friday that the discussion is in the early stages, but that a proposal for a public boat storage building could be brought before the City Council once Explore Bangor is up and running.
“I think it will be a really good fit, and I think it’s the right time for something like this,” Emery said.
McDonough and her family moved to Bangor from South Carolina in 2013 after her husband, Robert, who is director of research and development for Johnson Outdoors Watercraft, was transferred to Maine. She has two sons, one a sophomore at Bangor High School and the other in the eighth grade.
The family has always been active cyclists and paddlers. Robert McDonough was a professional kayaker, according to his wife.
“This is our passion, this is what we do,” she said.
Follow Nick McCrea on Twitter at @nmccrea213.