Doing What He Loves In A Place He Loves

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Steve Keim was in the corporate world of finance for 40 years when he took an early retirement to do something he loved -- spending his workdays surrounded by kayaks, canoes and hiking equipment.

"I like kayaking, so I thought there were bound to be one or two other people who liked it. That's why I started the business. And it's fun."

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Steve Keim opened Rim Country Outdoors in May and later in that month, he had a demonstration day for his kayaks and canoes at Green Valley Park. Business has been booming since.

Keim opened Rim Country Outdoors in May. He is an authorized dealer for Coleman camping and hiking gear and carries several lines of kayaks and canoes, which can be bought or rented: Old Town Canoes and Kayaks, Ocean Kayaks and Necky Kayaks.

Kayak and canoe purchases can also be delivered if the customer needs that service.

The shop also carries Whistle Creek Walking Sticks, which are available in a wide variety of different wood; one is even made from Sotol cactus.

A line of high-end fishing rods and reels from a company called St. Croix will soon be added to the inventory.

He has been in the area since 1992 as a part-time resident, but now his roots are permanent. Because he has spent so many years enjoying the Rim Country, he knows where to direct his customers for the kayaking and canoeing that best suits their skills and the experience they are seeking.

"My preference is Willow Springs, because of all the wildlife you can see. My wife and I go up there to watch the bald eagles," Keim said.

He said Blue Ridge is excellent, if you can stand to walk your kayak down the boat ramp.

Keim said Woods Canyon and Roosevelt are all right, too, but at Roosevelt, he urges his clients not to get out into the middle of the lake.

"They might get run over by other boaters, because they would be hard to see."

Roosevelt is not the only lake he cautions clients about.

"We really push for them to be safe."

Keim will be building his camping inventory for hunting season, but if anyone is interested in ordering specific gear, he suggests they come in now to get their requests placed.

"We have lots of catalogs they can go through to find just what they want."

Right now, the camping inventory is a little sparse, but the Star Valley shop is filled with kayaks.

"The kayak business is great," Keim said.

Located at 3906 E. Highway 260, Rim Country Outdoors is open from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Friday; and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Monday. While the shop is closed on Sundays, Keim is usually at Green Valley Lake from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., renting kayaks for residents and visitors to try. For details, call (928) 468-1100.

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