Alvin Hoffman Meyer
The Colden Canoe Team
Paul Meyer Owner and Boat Builder
If there is one life theme that best describes Paul, it is “crossing boundaries”.
He has taken a rather unconventional path to becoming a canoe builder as his early lessons came from the land and the great outdoors, not the typical classrooms or boat building apprenticeships.
Paul learned the core business skills of production, sales and customer service starting as a young teen working on a farm. He has remarked that the lessons he learned about business and “being diligent in your work” have served him well throughout his life.
His father and grandfather exposed him early to the great outdoors on mountain climbing and backpacking trips. He vividly remembers being drawn to the ponds and lakes they would encounter on those outings but he saw water initially as a boundary that could not be crossed. And then he discovered canoes. With that the boundaries disappeared and a whole new world opened. This began his life long fascination with how they worked, how they were built and the people who created them.
After completing high school, Paul spent 10 years out west far from college classrooms doing trail work in Yosemite and working and skiing across Colorado, and living in a tepee. The lessons learned during this time served him well as he came back to Western New York, married his high school sweetheart, started a family and went back to manage the farm he had started on so many years ago. That eventually lead to him starting his own commercial window cleaning business which he has managed and grown using the lessons garnered from his life experiences.
Through all of this he began using his craft skills to build strip canoes and kayaks for his own use. During his relaxation time he would talk with and learn from the canoe builders, such as Dave Curtis of Hemlock Canoes, and Charlie Wilson of Placid Boatworks. These conversations helped to fill his deep curiosity to understand how a canoe goes from idea, to physical hull, to a viable product in the marketplace that people use and enjoy.
This combination of fascination and passion lead Paul to ask Charlie Wilson at the early 2009 Western Pennsylvania Solo Canoe Rendezvous “Can the Fire boats come back to life? Can I be a part of that?” Since getting an enthusiastic “yes” from Charlie, Paul has been marshaling the resources necessary to bring Colden Canoe and the single blade Fire Series back to life.
So Colden Canoe represents another boundary that Paul has crossed, creating a business that combines his passion for canoes and his fascination with how they are built and crafted. Colden Canoe…helping people to cross boundaries.