The new space at Pack & Paddle has had several lives, and as we progress in the de-construction phase, we’ve been able to see each life kind of like an archaeologist would see a past civilization. The most noticeable thing you’ll see right now is the large airbrushed mural on the wall that was exposed when the tin came down off the walls. Many people that were around in the 80’s will remember this mural. It was painted to add atmosphere to “Cypress Mountain”. Cypress Mountain was our mechanical ski slope for which this section of the shop was originally built in 1981. It was basically an angled, carpeted conveyor belt that allowed people to ski indoors. We taught skiing and hosted birthday parties on Cypress Mountain from 1981 through 1989.
The next thing you might notice is the unusual paint on the floors. In the late 80’s our bicycle department was taking off so much that we decided to remove the mountain, and build a huge bicycle shop in that room. The floors that were painted red, then overpainted with contrasting greys that we put on with a feather duster. Also, it was during this construction that the tin was put on the walls.
Of course the climbing wall is very noticeable. It’s roots trace back to the late 90’s when P&P returned to its roots of authentic outdoor and filled this room with outdoor gear. The wall was built by Arthur Cormier of the Rok Haus. This phase occurred when we decided to eliminate the bike department from Pack and Paddle.
Removing the bike department was a shock to many as P&P was the largest and most popular bike store in Lafayette. Even 2 years after the bike department was gone, Pack & Paddle was voted Acadiana’s favorite bike store in the Times of Acadiana. The reasons for not doing bikes were many, foremost of which was a desire to simplify the business and return to our roots. In closing this part of the shop, we dropped almost half of our sales. Although this was a dangerous thing to do, it has allowed P&P to flower as a pure outdoor store over the last 8 – 10 years and become the shop it is today.
In 2000, Becky and I bought the shop out from my family and moved Black Ice Sports into this room. This is the way that the room stayed until this year when we began the remodeling project. The next time you’re in, poke your head in the door and see us doing what we do best: Change and create!