By KEVIN CHIRI
Slidell news bureau
LACOMBE – Shannon Bordelon always had a dream to own a business that involved the outdoors.
Now, as owner of Bayou Adventure in the heart of Lacombe at 28178 Hwy 190 at Lake Road, heading up the outdoors store with her husband Jeff, she said her job is all about “selling people a good time. You can’t have a bad day doing that.”
Bayou Adventure has grown in a big way since Shannon saw an opportunity to buy the existing bait shop that used to be in the back of the building.
“After church one day I was looking in the paper and saw an ad that someone was selling the bait shop,” she said. “I bought the business on a handshake.”
Since that time in 2011 she began expanding, and got a partner in the process when she and childhood neighbor Jeff Bordelon reconnected in 2014 and were later married.
Bayou Adventure is now operating out of the entire building at that location with a bait shop, kayak rentals, bike rentals, a convenience store, an extensive line of fishing tackle, crabbing supplies, a remote control (RC) hobby shop, and a kitchen that will soon open.
“We are all about outdoor adventures,” she added. “Jeff and I make a great team and are passionate about the bayou and this way of life.
Shannon grew up in New Orleans and worked from the time she was a teenager at the Rock-N-Bowl where she gained business experience. She was familiar with the North Shore since she had family that lived in the Lacombe area, along with other friends.
Once she moved to the North Shore in 2008 she got involved in the Lacombe Museum, the VFW, Keep Lacombe Beautiful and was one of the original members with a group that would eventually become Concerned Citizens of St. Tammany—an organization that started in Lacombe.
“I live on the bayou and always wanted to protect the natural beauty we have here,” she said. “I always knew that if I got people to experience the water they would see how wonderful it was and want to protect it like I did.”
Little did she realize that the kayaking she did on the Lacombe bayous would turn into part of her business after that day in 2011 when she would begin leasing the building for the bait shop, bike rentals and kayak rentals. The convenience store that was operating out of the front of the building became available in 2016 and she added more opportunity for the business to grow.
“Lacombe is the place to do so much,” Jeff said. “The area has so many outdoor recreational opportunities to offer and we’re the only place anywhere close that offers a bait shop, a convenience store, kayak and bike rentals and a hobby shop!”
The RC hobby shop was brought into the fold last year. After all, Jeff was very involved in hobbies in his younger years spending summers with his aunt and uncle in their hobby shop. When he went to work as an adult in the field that he studied, he became a project manager in the construction industry, which was a perfect fit to keep fixing the RC cars and to renovate the building.
“One of the things we want to do is encourage more parental involvement. Take the kids fishing, or to do the RC cars together,” he said. “Next year we even plan on having a Pinewood Derby kind of event here.”
As if Shannon hasn’t been busy enough running the business she was asked to run for Justice of the Peace for the 7th Ward, which she did, and won. That brought more people to the bait shop where she maintained her JP operation as a single mom before she and Jeff were married.
Bayou Adventure will soon add an R/C racetrack, camping and hunting supplies, and also many different kinds of nostalgic toys, such as kites and balsa wood gliders.
“We want to support families in a way that kids can’t wait for their parents to get home so they can go fishing, or fly a kite, or do something in the outdoors,” Jeff said. “Both Shannon and I love talking to people and at some point it will pay off as the business grows. For now we love doing this and encouraging people to go outdoors.”
A kitchen will soon open in the store to serve breakfast and lunch, rounding out the wide variety of offerings—at least for now, until they find something more to add.
“We like having such a variety of things for people,” Shannon said. “Jeff and I go above and beyond when it comes to customer service and I believe that is one reason we can grow the business here in Lacombe.”
Bayou Adventure is open seven days a week from 5:30 am – 8:00 pm For more information on any of the rentals, call them at 985-882-9208 or check them out on Facebook.