San Antonio kayak-rental company has seen increase of business since easing of stay-at-home orders

Published 7:22 am CDT, Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Mission Adventure Tours, which offers kayak rentals for the San Antonio Rivera, is reaping the benefits from locals eager to escape their homes for some outdoor fun.

The company’s owner, Sarah Neal, said kayak rental sales have soared since opening in May as people look for activities that allow for safe social distancing.

“More people want to get out,” Neal said. “Everyone is tired of being stuck indoors and we want fun activities where we can social distance and still be safe. What’s an easier way to social distance than having a whole river between you to space out?”

The kayak rental operates on the King William section of the San Antonio River, near the River Walk, as well as Espada Park, on the South Side. It allows individuals to rent kayaks by the hour to travel the river at their own pace.

“People have been loving the fact that we are open and is something they can do in San Antonio that makes them feel safe,” Neal said. “I have had so many people upset that they can’t do our longer tours right now because they are loving it.”

Since reopening in May, Kayak rental sales compared to this time last year have increased by 125 percent, Neal said.

“When things started to shut down, we thought we were sunk,” Neal said. “We are a family owned business. My husband and I are disabled veterans and we didn’t want to shut down, but we had to. Some friends convinced us to try and open in May, and it was great because people just feel safer outdoors.”

RELATED: I kayaked on the San Antonio River in the King William Historic District, here’s what you need to know

The company operates kayaks from March to October but were forced to shut down after the city ordered non-essential businesses to temporarily close in response to the pandemic.

The company is still struggling even after it reopened last month, Neal said. Their kayak rentals only make up a quarter of the services, which includes bike and historic tours of the downtown area. Mission Tours has also reduced the number of people they rent kayaks to in order to give employees time to sanitize kayaks and life vests between rentals.

“We have had to change everything we do,” Neal said. “But our rentals are going very well and we are making enough to keep all of our employees on the payroll. We are very thankful we can keep afloat.”

For now, the company is only operating at about 50 percent capacity on the weekends only. However, Neal said as mandates from the city and state change, they will adapt and hopefully increase rental slots.

To make a reservation, visit Mission Adventure Tour’s website.

Taylor Pettaway is a breaking news and general assignment reporter for | [email protected] | @TaylorPettaway

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