Since its days as a small startup in Bill Parks’ garage, NRS has had a well-earned reputation for being thrifty. Not cheap, just…resourceful. It’s about more than cutting costs; it’s a way of being that stems from our roots as boaters. On the water, substance always trumps appearances. We think this rule holds true in life and business too. There are flashier companies out there, and that’s okay with us.
If something can be fixed rather than replaced, we fix it. If we can build something ourselves rather than buy it, we build it. And if something can be purchased used at a savings over new, we buy it used. Most of our office chairs came from a liquidation house. We built bike racks for our warehouse out of aluminum pipe from the NRS Frame Shop. In a previous life, our company van was an airport shuttle. It’s seen some hard use, and shows it, but it’s not ready for the junk heap yet.
You’d think it would have a clever name like, maybe, the Gray Whale, but we just call it the van – or the gray van, if we need to differentiate it from the even jankier tan van at the NRS Frame Shop. Wholesale reps take the gray van to shows, and it carries NRS associates to lots of on-the-water trips. (It’s also helped many an associate make a cross-town move.) We throw rowing frames on the top and pull loads of rafts, catarafts, kayaks and canoes on a trailer behind. We fill the back with soggy gear and the seats with boaters, slobbery pillows and gas station cuisine. There’s supposedly a rule about not taking dogs in the van, but it’s always full of dog hair. The rusty roof is caved in from people standing on it to load gear, and a small swimming pool forms up there when it’s raining, which dumps over the windshield when you hit the brakes. Still, the gray van is not without luxuries. For example, there’s a super sweet tape deck and a small collection of top-notch cassettes: Miles Davis, Dwight Yoakam, Eddie Rabbitt. Not half shabby.
If you see us rolling by, be sure to wave. And if you see us on the side of the road with the hood up, we’d appreciate it if you’d stop and lend us a hand.