New kayak launch opening behind Markets at Town Center

A new kayak launch is being built inside the Markets at Town Center in a retention pond. It has a very specific purpose and will not be open to the general public.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After the pandemic forced a more than year delay, a new kayak launch is coming to Jacksonville’s Southside.

“Our objective is to continue to increase and improve foot traffic and to bring the customer into our shopping center,” said Helen Ciesla, the general property manager for The Markets at Town Center.

But the new launch is not on the Intracoastal or St Johns River. It is inside the Markets at Town Center in a retention pond!

That kayak launch has a very specific purpose and will not be open to the general public.

The new kayak launch on a pond behind the Markets at Town Center will help customers and businesses.

“It’s all about the consumer experience,” Ciesla said. “When the dock is used as a launch, you cannot buy a consumer experience online.”

Ciesla said the launch will be a space for customers to learn how to use a kayak.

Stores like Recreational Equipment Incorporated (REI) and West Marine are going to be the teachers.

“Every retailer strives to bring a better consumer experience to the customer, and this certainly will meet that need for the kayaks,” Ciesla said.

The more than $350,000 project is going to have an outdoor classroom setting. There will also be a chance for businesses at the town center to train their employees and do some team building.

Anastasia Dieter will be one of the instructors.

“Some customers may say ‘I feel like I have no balance. I have no idea of what to do with the paddle,’” Dieter said. “So, we really want to make sure people feel comfortable.”

Dieter says this is all about education.

Customers can get comfortable with their new purchases and employees at the stores can get hands-on training.

“Getting people to understand how to read the weather requirements, understand what equipment is required by law,” she said. “What are the different specifications for whether you’re at the beach versus flat water, private property versus city property. We can show you how to do this and if they fall in love with it all, the better. They have all of Jacksonville at their fingertips.”

Although the kayak launch will not typically be open to the public, it would be for special events.

It is expected to be up and running by the end of September.

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