Two young entrepreneurs, Dirk Unkle and Seth Bigham, have taken over ownership of downtown’s L2 Outside.
“We had been … in the startup/entrepreneurial community, and we started to get the bug of wanting to be our own business owners,” Unkle said.
The duo had been quietly looking for options, and Unkle’s mother-in-law, who has been a small business owner and franchisee, encouraged him to find a business that was already viable-one that has a history so he’d know what to expect.
L2 piqued the duo’s interest, and the previous owner, Mark Baldwin, was looking to sell because he has other ventures, Unkle said.
L2 Outside stands for “live life outside,” and it’s about getting away from the office and enjoying the area’s natural assets, Unkle said.
“It’s a great lifestyle brand,” Unkle said of L2.
The sell was a six-figure transaction, he also said.
The previous iteration of L2 included a café, but Unkle and Bigham aren’t taking over that part. Instead, what had been the café is being turned into an Irish pub by another entrepreneur, Unkle said.
The store has men’s and women’s clothing and a range of outdoor/water sports/skater brands such as Roxy, Quiksilver and Volcom, Unkle said.
The shop also has sunglasses such as Oakleys and shoes such as Sanuk. Unkle said he’s working on getting Chacos.
The 100 Market St. business is an ideal location to reach both tourists and local residents, Unkle said.
“It’s right in the epicenter of the tourist district,” he said. “There’s tons of tourist foot traffic, but also a lot of locals.”
The shop sells longboards and customers can rent standup paddleboards.
In addition to retail sales, Unkle said he wants to expand into hosting summer camps and team building workshops.
For example, the shop will be working with the Tennessee Aquarium for a summer camp. It’ll be a six-day summer school course that allows 11- and 12-year-olds to take paddleboards out on an area lake, Unkle said.
“There are lots of opportunities like that,” he said. “We want to do a lot more of those larger deals where we can get entire summer camps or large groups of people on the water.”
Updated @ 1:53 p.m. on 5/9/16.
Updated @ 7:52 a.m. on 5/11/16.