Backed by 30 total years of experience that includes teaching kayaking and selling equipment for REI, Barbara Gronseth shares her passion for the outdoors through Issaquah Paddle Sports. Profiled in the Issaquah Press, Barbara and her team—which includes husband George—rent stand-up paddleboards, kayaks, and NuCanoe Kayaks to all ages of outdoorsmen. Since Issaquah Paddle Sports is located within Lake Sammamish State Park near Tibbetts Beach, its protected beach affords visitors a relaxed setting for launching into the lake.
Beyond supplying guests with equipment, Barbara's team also leads programs that range from guided tours to experiences designed exclusively for women and kids. Additionally, the staff arranges lessons in kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding through parent company Kayak Academy. Back at the clubhouse, attendants dispense replenishments such as Clif Bars, SmartWater, and caviar cupcakes.
In 2005, a group of avid badminton players finally pinpointed their favorite part of the game: community. Springing from this insight, they opened Bellevue Badminton Club, inviting members to mingle or hide from exes behind their rackets on 11 courts open 24/7. The club’s coaches, including Israel's 1998 national champion and a seven-time national collegiate title winner, lead private lessons and classes. For juniors and adults alike, classes range from laid-back to competitive based on pupils' abilities and goals.
When learners vacate the courts, members and nonmembers have free rein to play drop-in matches or trace outlines of each other in chalk. Round-robin doubles and singles leagues cultivate atmospheres of amiable competition, enabled by top-shelf Yonex equipment found at the pro shop.
Dizzy’s Tumblebuses both look like bright yellow school buses, yet they have never taken a kid to school. They don’t even have seats inside. Instead, their interiors are stocked with tumbling equipment, ball pits, and slides, and they make stops at schools, where they augment gym classes. These traveling fun-buses were invented by founder and mother of three, Dizzy, who has spent the last 10 years growing her company, trying to find parking spaces big enough for her buses, and testing out lesson plans with her own eager kids.
And in addition to the busses, Dizzy also created Dizzy’s Bus Stop, the company’s stationary facility. Despite its immobility, the facility hosts a bus structure inside that recreates the fun of the company’s popular Tumblebuses. Kids can clamber up a pint-size rock-climbing wall, jump on trampolines, and join in activities from dress-up to play dough sculpting. To accommodate a variety of little ones, the center offers drop-in day care, parent-supervised open play sessions, or preschool for tykes ages 2-5.
As avid golfers themselves, Pro Golf Discount’s staff members boast a wealth of experience and professional equipment advice. They are eager to direct shoppers through stores full of golfing merchandise from brands such as TaylorMade, Nike, and Callaway, pointing out the differences between the quality products. They lead lefties to their expansive selection of left-handed equipment, and discuss the advantages of their specialty women's gear with ladies. The master club fitters evaluate clients’ swings with advanced Launch Monitors and the Foresight Sports GC2 golf-simulation system, enabling them to recommend equipment that is suited to the customer's specific needs.
Most of the locations host golf lessons within their onsite golf theater hitting cages, where top golfers dish out expert tips and techniques. The Tacoma, Bellevue, Lynnwood and Bellingham locations feature repair centers, where technicians can spruce up clubs in preparation for upcoming tournaments or a golf vacation.