JEFFERSON — Zaloo’s Kayak & Fly Shop, located at 3874 NC Hwy 16 South in Jefferson, held a ribbon cutting ceremony at 11 a.m. on July 10. The shop, which is located above the canoe and kayak rental operation, is Zaloo’s latest addition.

Items available at the shop include fishing kayaks, recreational kayaks and stand up paddle boards. Fishing apparel, fly fishing rods and reels and other fishing tools and accessories are also available for purchase.

Shop manager Kyle Zeh said they plan to have three experienced guides on-hand to assist people in learning how to fly fish. The guides will provide services to people of all age groups and skill levels.

Zeh said his inspiration for this business venture was to celebrate the New River and provide a place for locals and visitors to quickly and conveniently purchase fly fishing gear.

Gentry Jones who manages Zaloo’s Canoes, Kayaks & Tubes shared some of the riveting history of Zaloo’s and its presence in Ashe County.

Zaloo’s Canoes was established in 1976 by Jed Farrington, whose father grew up on the property on which the building is located. According to Jones, its namesake was the song “Uncle Jed Say” by Happy and Artie Traum, which Farrington loved.

Jones said in its early days, Farrington operated the canoe rental with only six canoes, a trailer and a van.

“There’s a lot of people in our community that love to fish this river,” Jones said. “And this river, a lot of people don’t know it, but this river is one of the best smallmouth bass rivers in the country.”

Jones said there are a lot of opportunities for Zaloo’s. In regard to tourism, he said it will be advantageous to offer good guide services in addition to selling fly fishing equipment.

“It’s really a labor of love, we want to preserve what Jed started and keep it moving forward,” Jones said.

According to Jones, a large part of their business comes from customers who reside in Hickory, Statesville and Wilkesboro. They are also frequented by visitors from larger cities including Raleigh, Durham, Greensboro and Charlotte.

According to Jones, Zaloo’s continues to play a large role in bringing people to Ashe County.

He added that he would like to see Zaloo’s remain a “small town business” and does not want to see it turn into a corporate-owned business.

“Over a given weekend we probably have close to a thousand people come through here on a Saturday and Sunday,” Jones said.

Jones recollected that their famous Zaloo’s t-shirt, featuring the original design from 1976, has been featured in photos internationally in countries including New Zealand, Korea and Africa.

To book a trip or access more information, visit the website at zaloos.com or the Facebook page @Zaloos. Those interested in planning a trip can do so by visiting the website, calling the shop or through walk-ins. Jones suggested that the best time for walk-in bookings is during week days since weekends are typically booked in advance.

For any questions or concerns call (800) 535-4027 or email info@zaloos.com.

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