GEAR Elkader combines coffee and kayaks for Iowa outdoor enthusiasts

While many may not see the connection between coffee and kayaking, some would argue that the two go together like peanut butter and jelly.

Kathleen and Mike McShane are two of those individuals. They co-own GEAR Elkader, an outdoor store and cafe located in a historic building in downtown Elkader. For 130 years, the same family operated the building as a hardware store and mercantile.

The McShanes recognised a need for an outdoor store in Elkader, an area surrounded by state and county parks and the Turkey River. However, they required a means of differentiation in an age of 24-hour internet shopping. As a result, they drew inspiration from Mike’s background.

GEAR Elkader is an outdoor retailer and café located in a historic structure in downtown Elkader.
“My husband has been roasting coffee beans since the 1990s, so combining the outdoor gear and coffee house vibes was an easy decision,” Kathleen explained. “We want everyone to stop in on their way to or from their adventures to tell us about a new trail or park they discovered, to pick up a necessary item, or to fuel their bellies.”

GEAR is an acronym for “Get Everyone and Recreate,” and Kathleen added, “it doesn’t matter how you recreate, whether it’s easy and lazy or fast and extreme.” The McShanes take pride in the fact that 85 percent of their products are made in the United States. Grab a cup of coffee and browse the kayaks, snowshoes, camping pads, caps, disc golf supplies, fishing tackle, gardening supplies, and horseshoes. Additionally, you can obtain your hunting and fishing licences while you are there.

Read more •

Suggested Reading