Written By: Adelle Whitefoot | 4:00 am, May 27, 2016 Duluth New Tribune

Two longtime best friends and Two Harbors High School graduates are starting a kayak and paddleboard rental business in their hometown this summer.

"We wanted to do something in the summer and wanted to do something together and maybe make some money, and it just seemed like this is the one thing Two Harbors doesn't have," Melanie Mojkowski said.

So Mojkowski and Christie Higgins decided to start their business Harbor Kayak and Paddleboard Rental. The name is in honor of Higgins' mother, who had a business for many years called Harbor Beauty. After the Two Harbors City Council made some amendments to an existing ordinance to accommodate the new business, the two women will be setting up shop at Burlington Bay Campground.

"Our base will be at the entrance to the campground," Mojkowski said. "Hopefully we will be able to utilize both Agate Bay and Burlington Bay depending on weather."

Higgins said kayaking is a passion of hers and wants to share that passion with as many people as possible.

"I'm a kayaker and I put mine out on Burlington Bay all the time, and just going around the point there, it's just so awesome. I also kayak down by Agate Bay," Higgins said. "Not being able to see other people utilize that is a shame, and you always want to share that experience with people."

Mojkowski and Higgins met in 1973 in grade school and have been friends ever since, even after Higgins moved away after graduation.

"I traveled the lower 48 for about five or six years and went up to Alaska in 1985. I was only going to stay for two years and then go to Nevada to do a lot of park skipping, and 23 years later I ended back up here," Higgins said. "I never thought I would have moved back to Minnesota, but my father got terminally ill about the same time that my marriage of 20 years went belly up, so I moved back."

Higgins moved back to Minnesota six years ago and she said it's just been a blast.

Both women said they hope the business grows and gives people another reason to enjoy the community.

"We like Two Harbors and it needs to have more," Mojkowski said.

Higgins said she hopes the business really helps to promote Two Harbors as well as downtown.

"I was down at Burlington Bay and there were two gals down there with their ice cream buckets to pick Agates. One of them started asking me questions and then asked if there was somewhere else they could pick and I told them about Agate Bay. She looked at me blank," Higgins said. "She didn't know about the lighthouse or lakewalk that started right there."

Higgins said her and Mojkowski are hoping to get at least a laminated map showing Burlington Bay, the lakewalk, the Two Harbors Lighthouse and Agate Bay, or even get maps to hand out to people who rent their kayaks or paddleboards.

"I've been on both sides, Agate and Burlington, and people have no idea of the other one. So this is going to be a great avenue to promote those things that are the best things about Two Harbors," Higgins said. "It's amazing how many people don't know about one place or the other, or that they can connect through the lakewalk."

Mojkowski said their plan is to be open daily, weather and waves permitting, from 8 a.m to 8 p.m. Rates for a single kayak or paddleboard will be $25 for one hour, $45 for two hours and $65 for three hours. Double kayaks will be $50 for one hour, $90 for two hours and $130 for three hours.

"We really want to promote Two Harbors and the shore," Mojkowski said.