About NRSTrusted for nearly six decades, NRS produces quality gear you can rely on. From stand up paddle boarding to kayaking and fishing, they’ve got what you’re looking for to get out in water.
Northwest River SuppliesNRS, or Northwest River Supplies, was founded by Bill Parks in Eugene, Oregon. Combining his expertise as a business professor with his love for the river, Bill took a chance to create something new in 1972. That year, with $2,000 to his name, he filled his garage to the brim with boating gear and wrote up the first NRS catalog.
He packed up in Oregon shortly after starting the company and uprooted to Moscow, Idaho to fill a teaching role at the local university. Once there, he expanded the business, manufacturing ...apparel and gear under the NRS brand name and employed students to help out in the warehouse or tend to customers.
In 1977, NRS began manufacturing their own gear and has been providing products that withstand the roughest conditions ever since. First specialising in dry bags for boaters, the company has expanded their line over the years to include products such as life jackets, wet suits, and other accessories.
Bill's love for the river––along with the people, places, and challenges it brought him––is the driving force of his community involvement and the ethos behind NRS. Everything the brand manufactures is a reflection of hard work, dedication, and fun.
Employees Run the ShowFor his 80th birthday, Bill Parks got serious: he was getting older and it was time to think about the next step for NRS. He had opportunities to sell the brand for a great deal of money which would make retirement so sweet.
Instead, Bill considered the legacy he could leave behind. He scrounged some funds, consulted with lawyers and spoke to his financial advisors. He would leave the company to the people who had helped him run the show for so many years.
In 2014, and with the financial help of Bill, the brand was officially purchased by the employees of the company. To this day, NRS remains 100% employee owned and operated.
Adding Value to the WorldThe team over at NRS is filled with all kinds of outdoor adventurers. From whitewater rafters, kayakers, stand up paddlers and fisherman, it’s no wonder the company is so committed to the wellbeing of our planet and the people who live here.
NRS has joined forces with various organisations to keep our oceans and waterways clean. This roster includes 5,000 Miles of Wild, Northern Forest Canoe Trail, Redside Foundation and Idaho Rivers United.
The brand is dedicated to protecting and restoring the damage inflicted on our world. Through determination and hardwork, NRS is making a real change for the better.
Frequently Asked Questions
What does NRS stand for?
NRS stands for Northwest River Supplies. The owner, Bill Parks, has a deep appreciation for the rivers that gave him beautiful experiences––through challenging waterways, and with wonderful people.
Who founded NRS?
Combining a love of the river with his teaching specialty, business professor Bill Parks founded NRS back in 1972. What began as a small start up with only $2,000 worth of savings in his bank account, quickly became a successful passion project selling various apparel, boats, and accessories.
Who owns NRS?
NRS is admirably owned by its employees. For Bill Parks’ 80th birthday, he decided it was time to consider what kind of legacy he wanted to leave behind. Bill chose not to sell his company to the highest bidder. Instead, he helped finance a deal to sell NRS to his employees and, in 2014, NRS became a 100% employee-owned business.