Kayaking accident leads Laurel Co. man to start outdoor safety supply business

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Published: Jun. 13, 2022 at 4:26 PM EDT
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LONDON, Ky. (WYMT) - A new outdoor supply store in Laurel County will be opening its doors on Tuesday, but if customers wonder why there is an abundant stock of outdoor safety supplies, there’s a reason for that.

The business’ owner and operator, Stephen Jones is an avid lover of the outdoors.

While on a casual kayaking trip with his friends during his senior year at EKU, Jones’ view on the outdoors would be forever changed.

“We got into the water, started down the river, and I heard a noise,” said Jones. “I said, ‘what’s that?’ My friend said, ‘oh, its just some rapids, no problem, you got it.’ I did not have it.”

That was when Jones was taken under the rapids in his kayak, causing him to hit his head on a rock in the process.

Luckily, Jones was okay, but after the time it took to reunite with friends and figure out where they need to go from there, Jones and his friends realized they were ill prepared to make it through that December night without proper gear and flashlights.

“That was a cold night,” said Jones.

This experience inspired Jones to look into working with EMS.

“Instead of going into law school like I had originally planned, I started looking into EMS, specifically wilderness EMS... I ended up loving EMS and stayed in it for 6 years,” he said.

Over time, Jones wanted to be able to help equip other outdoor enthusiasts with the equipment they need to make it through an adventure safely.

Hence, L3 Adventures was created.

“There’s not really a business around here that caters to that other than Walmart,” he said. “You have to drive all the way to Lexington or Knoxville to go to Cabela’s or something like that. I just thought it would be a good business and something fun to do.”

In addition to outdoor supplies, Jones hopes to expand the business and impact the outdoor enthusiast community even further.

“I would like to offer basic wilderness survival classes and I’ll be working with my friends still at EMS to get some wilderness first-aid training,” he added.

From inflatable kayaks to outdoor survival backpacks, Jones said he hopes to provide the highest quality products for people to utilize.

“You know, the goals not to make a million dollars. If I wanted to do that, I certainly wouldn’t be selling tents,” he said. “The goal is to help people and just make sure everyone’s safe and prepared for whatever they go out into the woods or whatever sort of adventures they have.”

L3 Adventures will be having a soft open Tuesday, June 14th followed by a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, June 18th.

The business will be open Tuesday through Friday from 10:30 to 6:00 and on Saturdays from 9:00 to 3:00.

It is located at 1022 N. Mill St. #4, London, KY, 40741.

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