Blue Mountain Outfitters

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BMO is by far my-all time favorite paddleshop. When I'm travelling I'd deviate from my route to check out paddling shops and outfitters, and I still haven't found anything like BMO.


I visit with a list of parts, pieces and gear and come back with everything, including the odd outfitting items. If they don’t have it - and they have pretty much everydamn thing - they’ll find it and get it.

(From a Retailer Profile in Paddle Dealer Magazine. Apologies for the writing style; that was the format)

Among Marysville, Pennsylvania’s various claims to fame - the mid-Susquehanna replica of the Statue of Liberty and the world’s longest longest-stone-arch railroad bridge - the historic 1900’s Marysville Train Station is undoubtedly the paddler’s prime attraction.

Home to Blue Mountain Outfitters since 1988, known throughout the mid-Atlantic region by the unavoidable “BMO” acronym, that funky station house reveals an even funkier interior. Provided your idea of funky involves an explosion of boats, gear and accessories that cover the walls and ceilings like shag carpet once covered the interior of the owner’s 1970’s Airstream.

BMO proudly proclaims “Our store is a lot like spelunking; it’s crowded and you can find the neatest things hiding in the crevices or suspended from the ceiling”

Those stalactites of stock include nearly 300 canoes and kayaks, not counting the rental fleet, complemented by 500 paddles and 300 PFD’s. Once equipped with those essentials what keeps their clientele coming back is a full-range of paddler services only a dedicated specialty shop can supply.

BMO’s shop gurus can provide expert in-house repairs and outfitting to “fix your boat, make it more comfortable and make it perform better” or help guide the do-it-yourselfer in making the right selection from an astonishing selection of materials.

Boat tinkerers needing gunwales, seats and thwarts for canoes, or rudders, deck fittings and accessories for every type of kayak; stainless hardware, FRP materials, minicel, quality rope, bungee and webbing - all roads lead to that famous front door.

How does BMO manage that in an era of big-box discounts and internet sales? If you seek a monument to paddling passion, look around. “Most of us at Blue Mountain have been paddling for years and that’s the reason we’re in this business” remarks owner Doug Gibson “We feel our biggest asset is that we care deeply about the sport”.

From humble beginnings in 1983 as a small storefront paddlesport shop BMO has cultivated not only a devoted multi-State customer base, but a staff equally obsessed with paddlecraft, “We’ve been fortunate enough to attract, for whatever demented reason, employees who are as enthusiastic about the sport as we are”, explains Sales Manager Mary Liskow.

Paddlegear can fill a store, and veteran paddlers with a wish list in hand won’t be disappointed, but the staff sets an encompassing welcome by helping novice boaters select the right piece of gear. Shop Manager Kris Wolpert sums it up “After determining your current and future paddling interests, budget, physical size and what load you intend to carry we can usually narrow the choice down to a boat or two”

Employing the philosophy “We will never try to over sell you, but rest assured, we will never undersell you either” BMO has grown a loyal cadre of repeat customers, some nurtured over the years from newbie to knowing, by satisfying the diversity of paddler interests and helping them evolve with the sport.

“We’re always listening to our customers and trying to fill their needs” relates Liskow, “Looking for new and different inventory, and trying to stock all the little things that often go overlooked”

If Blue Mountain Outfitters can’t find a satisfactory product to fill a need they will produce their own. BMO’s popular canoe and kayak trailers for example, built and refined by paddlers for paddlers, whether their boat hauling requires a 10-stacker for institution or government needs or a smaller version that makes getting racked and ready easier for family trips.

First-time paddlers may initially come to BMO for a livery trip down the Susquehanna or nearby tributary, lured by the eye-catching rental fleet of nearly 100 canoes and kayaks. If paddling strikes their fancy a rent-to-buy program may get them hooked.

Or perhaps they’ll be snared by the lure of a guided river tour in “The Bloody Mary”, an eight-person Mariner canoe, ideal for group activities and special events. Once hooked Blue Mountain reels them in with an annual spring demo day. There is no size limit for demo day keepers; carrying a selection of boats and gear in every size allows them to outfit small fry and lunkers alike.

Catch and release doesn’t end with outfitting and out the door; BMO keeps ‘em coming back with rescue gear, immersion apparel (‘cause “If you aren’t swimming, you aren’t learning”), paddling clothing, books & guides, and just plain hanging out swapping stories.

Home-base for a beguiling cohort of local paddling denizens, from members of organized clubs to the innovative and often damp Pennsylvania Stunt Poling Contingency (think performance art meets Harry Rock), BMO’s habitués contribute a touch of carnival to the convivial climate.

With 5000 square feet under cover Blue Mountain Outfitters remains the antithesis of a big-box store. They do one thing – provide for paddlers – and they do it very, very well.


Blue Mountain Outfitters

http://www.bluemountainoutfitters.net/
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
BMO is always on my list to visit when passing through Harrisburg PA.. Not the biggest selection of camping equipment but if it is canoe related does quite well especially re itty bitty parts or repair items..or horrors, canoe paddles( very good selection). But just a horrid parking lot access!

Not to be confused with BMO in Blue Mountain Lake, NY.
 
Joined
Jun 12, 2012
Messages
3,667
Location
Appleton, Maine
Thanks Mike, I have heard lots of great reviews about them, I even have a BMO coozie Joh White gave me many years ago.
 
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
6,386
Location
Raymond, ME
Well we have to go there in two days. Someone upended the Raven in a snag in current. Z drag got boat out but not before ripping all the webbing out of the seat. Reminder to check your seat webbing even if it looks fine. The seat was 15 years old, looked good and the webbing ripped everywhere. The good news is if you have rope and the seat frame is good (as it was) it was a quick fix to weave a fake babiche seat. The only downside potential is waffle butt.

Also nearly holed the Raven..pretty interesting as there were no rocks.. something knifed almost all the way through. G flex on shopping list.

Picking up a Mad River Monarch today!
 
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