The company has changed owners a few times since the 1980’s, most recently when Eric Thome and Scott Peckham purchased Folbot in 2012. This duo of young fellows is updating the technology behind the company so orders can be shipped out with more ease, and they are experimenting with new looks and colorful designs all the time. Presently, Folbot is offering nine different models of foldable kayaks in nine different colors.
Part of the Folbot warehouse is an old wooden structure located in the Industrial Park area in North Charleston. It is far more expansive than the space required to run Folbot today, so a consolidation of work space has been part of the focus of the new owners. Inside the warehouse lies the treasured history of Folbot, with some very old models which despite gathering dust may well still be watertight today.
One joyful discovery from that warehouse is a vintage Owner’s Manual written by founder Jack Kissner himself. This 1973 fourth edition is titled Fabulous Folbot Holidays, a stunning 300-page color guide to all things Folbot. It includes many customer testimonials and it heralds how Folbot owners catch more fish by getting closer to them. The manual was way ahead of the curve regarding today’s kayak fishing craze that has spawned its own culture. Today there are dedicated publications just to keep track of all the action.
Versatility is what sets Folbot apart, since the boat actually fits in the trunk of a car. No SUV, no pick-up, no roof racks – No problem. Summer intern David Grubbs, a local high school student, helped Thome and me load three Folbots in the back of a Mercedes wagon. After a short drive to a public kayak landing in Charleston County I witnessed the assembly of the 13-foot Sporting Life model.