Retailer Spotlight: Wilderness Supply, Manitoba

Wilderness Supply, based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, is Central Canada’s expert supplier and educator of all things kayak, canoe and SUP…

Wilderness Supply's retail store

Wilderness Supply’s flagship store is in Winnipeg, with a second brick-and-mortar store in Thunder Bay, Ontario. They also have an online store with customers across North America. Besides paddlesports, they can supply you with apparel and gear for camping, hiking and your general outdoors lifestyle.

What makes Wilderness Supply's locations unique?

Rick Shone, Wilderness Supply’s co-owner notes: “Some of the best paddling in the country is between our two stores (Winnipeg and Thunder Bay). From the US border to about 200 miles north is all wilderness.”

Woodland Caribou Provincial Park, Nopiming Provincial Park, Whiteshell Provincial Park and Quetico Provincial Park, to name a few…all remote and pristine lakes, rivers and forests perfect for wilderness paddling.

Education: WavPaddling School

Wilderness Supply’s WavPaddling School has been teaching people how to paddle since 2008. They offer courses for all experience levels, like:

  • Basic canoe skills, including wilderness tripping
  • Kayaking skills for all types: recreational, sea kayaking and whitewater
  • Basic and advanced flatwater stand-up paddleboarding
  • Get your Paddle Canada Basic Kayak Instructor Certification

Both locations host WavPaddling School.

wilderness supply's kayaking school
Students learn basic kayaking skills at WavPaddling School.

Community Involvement and Non-Profit Partners

The folks at Wilderness Supply believe in being involved in their community and in non-profit ventures as well.

Their Winnipeg store’s new location, right in the downtown area, puts them in the same neighborhood as the city’s growing population of immigrants. Rick and his staff are excited about introducing as many of them as they can to paddling and other outdoor activities.

One of the non-profits they work with and help fund is Manitoba Camping Association’s Sunshine Fund. Through their giving they’re able to help send under-privileged kids to summer camp each year, as well as offer discounts on the gear they’ll need.

Wilderness Supply’s History

Rick’s in-laws started Wilderness Supply in 1995 as a paddlesports retailer. Eventually it developed into a general outdoors store. Rick has managed the store since the early 2000s, then he and his wife, Elysia, bought it from her parents in 2008.

They continue to be the only independent outdoor retailer in their two cities, competing against the “big box” stores. That’s worked for them because of their ability to attract and keep great staff who are avid outdoors people themselves. Their superb customer service and individuality as a retailer has kept them strong as well.

wilderness supply's retail store
An inside look at Wilderness Supply's retail store

Why Wilderness Supply Sells Bending Branches Paddles

Wilderness Supply has carried Bending Branches’ canoe paddles since 2008 because “they offer us a higher quality, beautiful-looking paddle for the customer looking for something more than just the plain old stick!”

To learn more about Wilderness Supply, visit their website. You can find them on Facebook, too: Wilderness Supply Winnipeg and Wilderness Supply Thunder Bay.

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