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Outer Banks Area Features

Duck Village Outfitters

  By: Kip Tabb

For almost 20 years, Duck Village Outfitters (DVO) has been a part of the Outer Banks. There are three stores now as well as the online reservation and retail site, But back in 1998, when Bob and Tanya Hovey opened the doors at their 500-square-foot location, the couple wasn’t sure what was going to happen.

“I guess we got lucky and made the right moves,” Bob says. “We didn’t make all the right moves…believe me,” he adds.

There’s a saying, “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” In the case of the Hoveys, both preparation and opportunity occurred at the same time.

The couple had come from Virginia Beach in 1996 hoping to own their own business, but realized it would be easier to start by working with someone else.

On the waterfront in Duck, they found that someone, but the agreement was pretty restrictive. “We had a lease where all we could do was rentals,” Bob explains.

Two years later, a small space in Duck opened up and the couple was ready.

“We had already established wholesale. We had 500 square feet, so why not sell t-shirts with our logo on it?” Bob asks.

They were prepared for success, but Bob notes there may have been a bit of luck as well. “Certain things happened. Kayaking got big right when we started. Duck built the bike path. That was big.”

Business was good—very good—and in 2007 they built their own store in Duck. Two years later, they opened their Salvo location. Three years later, Kill Devil Hills opened.

“We use the same model for all three locations, but each spot is a little different,” Bob says. “In Kill Devil it’s a lot of retail and year-round business. At Salvo it’s more of a destination activity. You still have a lot of rentals, but also boarders and fishermen. Duck has a lot of family reunions and a lot of rentals.”

Each location is a fully stocked retail store, filled with all your needs for muscle-powered fun on the water—everything from bathing suits to surfboards and SUPs.

Kayaks have always been a big part of DVO’s business, but it’s more than sales and rentals.

“Another thing really unique about our business, my wife or I do all the kayak tours. It’s something we really enjoy,” Bob says.

Although there are three fully stocked retail stores, DVO has always been known as the Outer Banks location to rent anything needed for beach fun.

“We rent bikes, kayaks, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards, body boards, chairs and umbrellas,” Bob says, and there are unexpected additions to the rental program.

“This year Perception came out with a pedal kayak,” he says. “We also have a six-man inflatable stand-up paddleboard. A whole family can get on it.”

And there is something else that seems to set DVO apart according to Bob: “We take online reservations and we also deliver right to the customer’s door, from Corolla to Avon.” DVO definitely has a high standard for customer service and that’s the key to their success. To rent or buy from Duck Village Outfitters, visit or one of their 3 stores in the Outer Banks.

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