Rivers run through it: Partnership unites outfitters

Nantahala Outdoor Center in Swain County, the nation’s largest whitewater-rafting company, has announced that it’s teaming up with another major outfitter to share marketing and sales efforts, as well as guides and operational staff.

Nantahala Outdoor Center will partner with West Virginia-based North American River Runners in a deal that will allow the companies to share strengths, Charles Conner, NOC’s media and communications manager, told Xpress.

“There are a lot of parallels between the two companies that make this a real no-brainer for both of us,” he said.

NOC, a 36-year-old company, operates on seven rivers in the Southeast, including the Nantahala, Nolichucky, French Broad and Chattooga. NARR runs rafting trips on the New and Gauley rivers, two of the premier whitewater-rafting rivers in the eastern U.S., and is 33-years-old.

“As we wind up in the fall, they’re firing up on the Gauley, so it gives our guests and staff a great place to go. It gives our staff an extra couple of months of work. And the New and Gauley offer big whitewater runs our guests don’t have access to,” Conner said.

NOC offers a highly rated paddling school and, with the partnership, will be able to offer instructional classes on the Gauley and New, Conner said. NOC also hopes to to draw more customers from the Ohio, Michigan and West Virginia markets where NARR is strong.

For NARR, a key benefit of the union is remaining strong against competing rafting companies that are consolidating on the New and Gauley rivers, Conner said.

“We’re just excited because we’re two of the originals,” Conner said. “We’re two of the best and it feels good for companies to have a partner of such high caliber.”

For more information about NOC and NARR, go to www.noc.com and www.narr.com.

— Jason Sandford, multimedia editor

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