Recreational kayak manufacturer Eddyline Kayaks is moving its corporate address from Washington to Northwest Arkansas.
The move to downtown Siloam Springs will be completed before the end of the year.
“At Eddyline, our purpose is to build quality craft that inspires people to enjoy clean and healthy waterways,” Eddyline president and co-owner Scott Holley said. “The Natural State, Arkansas, resonates deeply with our ethos as a responsible business entity and community participant.”
Founded in 1971, Eddyline is headquartered in Burlington, Wash., and makes kayaks and accessories. The first thermoformed kayaks were introduced by Eddyline in 1996, revolutionizing the industry. During thermoforming, a plastic molding technique, a plastic sheet is heated to a pliable shape, molded into a specific shape and then trimmed to make a final product.
In addition, Eddyline is the first company to use advanced aerospace technologies like vacuum bagging to construct sea kayaks.
In 2017, founders Tom and Lisa Derrer closed a deal to sell the business to three longtime employees and a few other investors, including Holley.
Eddyline’s products are sold through independent retailers nationwide, including Ozark Kayak in Bentonville.
Alex Stoeffl will manage the Arkansas operations, including 15,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor warehouse space on Waukesha Road near the Siloam Springs Kayak Park. Eddyline has also leased 1,000 square feet at 101 N. Mount Olive St. for a handful of office workers.
Eddyline has approximately 40 employees, mostly in production in Mexico.
Holley said the company is posting two jobs immediately in Northwest Arkansas in accounting and customer service and is working with local service providers for HR, marketing and warehouse services.
“The team has done great work navigating challenging times and growing the company,” Stoeffl said. “I look forward to working with the leadership team and leveraging my experiences from outside the industry to continue that growth and commitment to Eddyline’s legendary service and products.”
Holley said several factors influenced the relocation, including the recently opened WOKA Whitewater Park in Watts, Okla. Last year, a leadership summit that attracted 42 leaders of 30 paddlesport brands and manufacturers to Bentonville culminated in a vote to form a formal trade coalition. The Paddlesports Trade Coalition includes industry leaders who envision growing participation nationwide.
“Eddyline Kayaks aligns perfectly with the spirit of Northwest Arkansas and Siloam Springs,” Siloam Springs Chamber of Commerce President Arthur Hulbert said. “Our strategic geographical placement will undoubtedly streamline Eddyline’s distribution efforts nationwide.”
In 2022, Bentonville-based RZC Investments announced a minority growth equity investment in the company. RZC Investments is the direct investment firm of Runway Group, a Bentonville holding company led by Steuart Walton and Tom Walton. They are grandsons of Walmart founder Sam Walton and the sons of Jim Walton, chairman and CEO of Arvest Bank Group Inc.
As part of the investment, RZC Vice President Don Huffner joined the Eddyline board along with long-term managers Todd Keane, Janet Sutton and Holley.
“We are thrilled to welcome Eddyline to the Natural State,” said Katherine Andrews, director of Arkansas’ Office of Outdoor Recreation. “Eddyline’s relocation is a testament to our dedication to growing the state’s outdoor recreation economy, and I look forward to working with them to bring their quality products to Arkansans.”