SUISUN CITY — Sunset Bay Kayaks may be beached for good unless its owner finds a buyer willing to continue running kayak rentals on the waterfront and hosting guided kayak trips into the Suisun Marsh.
Fifteen years after Trish Abbatiello started up Sunset Bay Kayaks by parking a trailer loaded with kayaks at the Suisun City waterfront, the small water recreation business owner is calling it quits.
Abbatiello announced earlier this month that she is putting her business up for sale and retiring.
“I am feeling that I want to retire now enjoy life some more,” Abbatiello said. “This is nothing to do with politics, but that does wear you down.”
Sunset Bay Kayaks has been one of the more enduring water-related businesses on a shoreline that has seen three entertainment boats, an ecological tour boat and a water taxi business come and go.
Most recently, she and the city have been at odds over how best to make her business more visible to customers on the city’s waterfront. Abbatiello had repeatedly proposed building a kiosk, but she and the city had disagreed over the specific plans.
Abbatiello herself saw her business shift from working out of a trailer in the waterfront parking lot, to the bottom floor of a waterfront residence, to a Main Street storefront and finally to the underside of the walkway to the city’s public boat dock.
“I am not selling it for a lot of money,” Abbatiello said. “I would just like to see someone who lives locally buy it.”
Abbatiello said she was proud of the fact that she got people from all over the area to come to Suisun City and not only rent her kayaks and go on guided kayak cruises, but also patronize other businesses.
She initially planned to open up a riverboat restaurant on the waterfront in 1994, but after trying for three years, said she was not able to get the investors she needed. She then trimmed back her ambitions, took money out of her savings account and started Sunset Bay Kayaks on the back of a trailer.
“I had a good run here and the best part was meeting all the terrific people who came here and said what a terrific little community we had,” Abbatiello said. “And, of course, there was the marsh itself. It was intriguing every time you went out in it. Every time there was something different, whether it was seeing a river otter or seeing a bald eagle catching a fish.”
A drop in business, when the economy changed, did not help her business, she said, “because gas prices went up and people did not travel as much.”
Abbatiello said she will miss taking part in community events such as the Earth Day cleanups where kayakers cleaned up refuse from the marina.
“I hope that whoever buys the business, they will stay involved,” she said.
Linda Feins, whose business is near Harbor Plaza, express mixed emotions about the pending changes at Sunset Bay Kayaks.
“It is very sad that we won’t have the opportunity for someone to rent the kayaks and hopefully, we will have another business come in and do that,” Feins said. “It would be nice to have more water sports out here. It would be nice to use our waterway and not just to view it.”
Reach Ian Thompson at 427-6976 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ithompsondr.