“But then, as it turned out, everybody wanted to go play outside.”
-Karen Marriott, Owner, North Beach Windsurfing, St. Pete Beach, on fears they would close in the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdown. Their profits doubled.
The year Karen Marriott and her husband Britt Viehman planned on expanding their windsurfing business.
What You Need To Know
- This week, Virginia meets Karen Marriott, owner of North Beach Windsurfing
- Business there has been brisk in recent weeks, despite pandemic
- More Life in the Time of Coronavirus stories by Virginia Johnson
Also the year longtime family friends moved from Oregon.
But that was February. By March, that plan went from expansion to survival.
"We were super stressed because we were like, ‘Thanks for moving across the country, but now we might not be able to pay you,’” said Marriott.
There was a month of quiet. And then it got crazy.
They are doubling their business from this time last year.
So now they are doing more than surviving — they are paying everyone — their employees and their bills.
They are keeping their business ecosystem afloat, if you will, and living out a passion — to connect people to their environment.
“So it's a very direct, 'connected to the water under your feet and connected to the wind in your hands' kind of a sport,” Marriott said.
She describes the sport as being just hard enough to be excited about mastering.
And there is marine wildlife to enjoy too.
“We get to be out on the water and look at sea turtles and see dolphins and see little baby sharks. And it's super awesome,” Marriott said, smiling.
Look for Marriott and other windsurfers out by the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.
Just over the bridge headed north on I-275, you’ll see the “Scenic View” exit.
“It’s one of several places in the Tampa Bay area and the St. Pete Beach area that's truly phenomenal for wind surfing,” Marriott said.
(You might also see people flying through the air by the bridge too—those are the kite surfers. The wind surfers stay closer to the water.)
We have more stories on Life in the Time of Coronavirus. You can see them here.