BUSINESS FEATURE Rowing Dock Recreation company aims to be place for fun and a force for good T welve years ago, Susan Gold- berg, who has a background in business and commercial real estate, said she was looking for a change.
BY DARCY SPRAGUE
dierent place than it is now—and much quieter. You could go out on the lake on the weekends, and it still felt calm and relaxed. Now that has all changed.” A less positive side eect of the new residents, and the climate change that has occurred in the last 12 years, is its eects on the river. Goldberg said she now sees more algae and trash in the water. Rowing Dock hosts weekly free cleanups every Saturday. It provides the boats so people can go on the water to pick up trash. For every bag a person picks up, they can redeem it for a free hour rental at a time of their choosing. Since starting the program in July, Goldberg said she has had over 1,000 volunteers who picked up roughly 6,000 pounds of trash from the river and surrounding banks. On Earth Day, Rowing Dock hosted a massive cleanup event in partner- ship with EpicSUP, on the river east of I-35, and pulled out trash. Throughout the year, Rowing Dock hosts other events, such as Paddle for Puppies, which raises money for Austin Pets Alive. Goldberg said Rowing Dock has raised over $1 million dollars in monetary and in-kind donations for dierent organizations since she purchased the business. She said Rowing Dock oers a unique venue for local organizations to raise money and bring the community together. “I want the Rowing Dock to be a place people think of when they want to do good,” Goldberg said.
As a mom of three children, two in college at the time, she had taken a step back from work. She decided she wanted to do something fun, and she liked being outdoors. So when the owner and founder of Rowing Dock, Rachel Thomas, wanted to sell her business, it seemed like a perfect t. “I just thought, ‘There is so much potential here,’” Goldberg said. “Because, where else would some- body want to be other than Lady Bird Lake if they had a choice?” Rowing Dock is located just west of Zilker Park on the south bank of the Colorado River. Thomas opened the shop in 2000. When Goldberg bought it, the shop focused mainly on row- ing, which was Thomas’ passion. Goldberg chose to expand, adding kayaks, pedal kayaks, canoes and paddleboards. “I took what I consider to be a pretty huge risk, because I have never owned a business before; I’d always just worked for myself; I’ve never had employees,” Goldberg said. Now, during the season, Rowing Dock has 60-70 employees. In the last two years, between COVID-19 making it safer to be outside and the increas- ing population in Austin, Goldberg said demand has shot up. “In 2010, I wouldn’t say Austin was a sleepy town,” Goldberg said. “But it certainly was a much
Owner Susan Goldberg sits outside of her business Rowing Dock on Lady Bird Lake.
PHOTOS BY DARCY SPRAGUECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER
PICK YOUR BOAT Rowing Dock oers several dierent crafts to choose from.
Canoe: $25 per hour; sits two to three; oers a smooth way to see the lake Kayak: $15-$20 per hour; sits one or two people and uses upper-body strength Pedal kayak: $25 per hour; sits one; riders can use pedals or paddles Paddleboard: $20 per hour; riders can stand, kneel or sit as they move forward with a long paddle
A kayaker paddles toward downtown.
Rowing Dock is located on the Colorado River just west of Zilker Park.
Rowing Dock 2418 Stratford Drive, Austin 512-459-0999 www.rowingdock.com Hours: daily 9 a.m.-8 p.m.
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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • JUNE 2022
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