4Corners Riversports

Milt Wiley was a local paddling legend.

Even in the 1980s, when whitewater sports were still coming on the scene, everyone in Durango had heard of the Wiley’s.

In 1983, he and his daughters opened 4 Corners Riversports (4CRS).

Since that time, 4CRS has become Southwest Colorado’s iconic river supply store. With everything from stand up paddle boards (SUPs) to cookstoves to PFDs, the shop supplies river goers with everything they need for their outdoor adventures. They have gear for purchase or rent, and they host paddling classes for all ages and abilities.

In 2002, Milt’s daughter, Nancy, sold the shop to her brother in law, Andy Corra. Over the past 18 years, Tony Miely, Ashleigh Diaz, and Matt Gerhardt have also become managing partners. 

Each of these individuals has their own story of falling in love with whitewater. Andy started paddling on the Roaring Fork River in 1979 and has traveled from South America to Africa to paddle some of the world’s wildest rivers. Tony, who is originally from Chicago, started paddling while attending CSU. His love for rivers took him to Steamboat Springs where he worked at WaveSport Kayaks and back to Denver to manage Down River Equipment.

Ashleigh grew up in Vermont and moved to Durango in 2001, where she and a friend taught themselves to paddle by running the Animas River every day. Matt was born and raised in Durango and has a passion for multi-day trips. He is the shop photographer and loves snapping pictures of people enjoying the river.

All of these managers strive to provide excellent customer service and choice of product to the 4Corners area. The company has also worked hard to develop a great online presence.  

Running an outdoor adventure business in Southwest Colorado is no easy feat, and 4CRS has faced its share of challenges. They’ve had to navigate an array of natural hardships, including fires, droughts, and now COVID.

Ashleigh Diaz says, “Although COVID was scary in the beginning, it ended up being a super busy year with great sales.  People couldn’t go on their European vacations and stayed locally to play in the desert and mountains. The biggest struggle this year was actually getting product. Our manufactures were working on limited production schedules, had trouble getting materials, and ran into shipping delays.”

Despite these challenges, 4CRS works hard to be an active part of the community. They are the title sponsor for Animas River Days and regularly donate to local causes and events. They are also an active member of the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance. All of the owners are passionate about sustainability. Their building is solar powered, and they try to purchase from companies who have a green impact (such as Patagonia, Ten Tree, Carve Designs, Kokatat, Astral, and Immersion Research).

Through the years, 4CRS has used SBDC for everything from social media help to understanding the Payment Protection Plan loans during the pandemic. Ashleigh encourages all business owners to seek them out. “SBDC is an amazing resource to have as a business owner, as well as, for anyone looking to start a business. They are all very knowledgeable and get you paired with the right people to go over all of the questions you may have during the process of opening a business. Also, for those who are already in business and looking to dial in a certain aspect, SBDC has someone who can help you. I have found everything so useful during my many meetings with their staff. I would highly recommend them.”

Even in the 1980s, when whitewater sports were still coming on the scene, everyone in Durango had heard of the Wiley’s.

In 1983, he and his daughters opened 4 Corners Riversports (4CRS).

Since that time, 4CRS has become Southwest Colorado’s iconic river supply store. With everything from stand up paddle boards (SUPs) to cookstoves to PFDs, the shop supplies river goers with everything they need for their outdoor adventures. They have gear for purchase or rent, and they host paddling classes for all ages and abilities.

In 2002, Milt’s daughter, Nancy, sold the shop to her brother in law, Andy Corra. Over the past 18 years, Tony Miely, Ashleigh Diaz, and Matt Gerhardt have also become managing partners. 

Each of these individuals has their own story of falling in love with whitewater. Andy started paddling on the Roaring Fork River in 1979 and has traveled from South America to Africa to paddle some of the world’s wildest rivers. Tony, who is originally from Chicago, started paddling while attending CSU. His love for rivers took him to Steamboat Springs where he worked at WaveSport Kayaks and back to Denver to manage Down River Equipment.

Ashleigh grew up in Vermont and moved to Durango in 2001, where she and a friend taught themselves to paddle by running the Animas River every day. Matt was born and raised in Durango and has a passion for multi-day trips. He is the shop photographer and loves snapping pictures of people enjoying the river.

All of these managers strive to provide excellent customer service and choice of product to the 4Corners area. The company has also worked hard to develop a great online presence.  

Running an outdoor adventure business in Southwest Colorado is no easy feat, and 4CRS has faced its share of challenges. They’ve had to navigate an array of natural hardships, including fires, droughts, and now COVID.

Ashleigh Diaz says, “Although COVID was scary in the beginning, it ended up being a super busy year with great sales.  People couldn’t go on their European vacations and stayed locally to play in the desert and mountains. The biggest struggle this year was actually getting product. Our manufactures were working on limited production schedules, had trouble getting materials, and ran into shipping delays.”

Despite these challenges, 4CRS works hard to be an active part of the community. They are the title sponsor for Animas River Days and regularly donate to local causes and events. They are also an active member of the Colorado Outdoor Business Alliance. All of the owners are passionate about sustainability. Their building is solar powered, and they try to purchase from companies who have a green impact (such as Patagonia, Ten Tree, Carve Designs, Kokatat, Astral, and Immersion Research).

Through the years, 4CRS has used SBDC for everything from social media help to understanding the Payment Protection Plan loans during the pandemic. Ashleigh encourages all business owners to seek them out. “SBDC is an amazing resource to have as a business owner, as well as, for anyone looking to start a business. They are all very knowledgeable and get you paired with the right people to go over all of the questions you may have during the process of opening a business. Also, for those who are already in business and looking to dial in a certain aspect, SBDC has someone who can help you. I have found everything so useful during my many meetings with their staff. I would highly recommend them.”

KB Insurance Group

Ken Brengle is the owner of KB Insurance Group, headquartered in Cortez, CO.  He studied business at Fort Lewis College.  Outside of class, Ken did a lot of self study and sold cell phones at a local store.  He was inspired by his business professors who became successful and moved to Durango for a better quality of life.  Ken learned he was a good salesman, and with a sufficient income he thought, “Why should I pay thousands of dollars

Read More »
Impact Fenders: Bracing for Impact

There’s nothing better than spending a day water skiing on the lake. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to fasten cylindrical fenders to the side of your boat before arriving back at the dock. As California natives, Brian Slaughter and Courtney Gates love boats. One day in 2017, they had just finished water skiing and were trying to attach their boat fenders when Brian had an epiphany: why hasn’t anyone created an easier system? As

Read More »
Durango Lawns: Keeping Durango Green

Some people adore yard work. Others prefer to leave their lawn care to the experts, so they have the freedom to go play. It is on this principle that Durango Lawns was founded. Although he is an electrician by trade, Pat Cass spent many of his early years working in lawn maintenance. He enjoys working outdoors and staying physically active, and for years, he dreamed of starting his own lawn company. Finally in 2019, he

Read More »
Nifty Nanny

Vivienne Yeagy always envisions bigger. Vivienne was home schooled by her mother Susan, along with her four sisters. Her childhood dream has been to have her very own school, incorporating year round education and child care. This stemmed from her early education in a one room school house with a red door in the family’s yard. Susan worked hard while she incorporated multifaceted ways for the children to learn. Instead of rote memorization and writing until

Read More »
Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses

Greg Parham was looking to purchase property and build a modest size home. A friend happened to email him a link about a tiny home story. Greg had never heard of tiny houses before, but upon reading it he realized, “I can do this. I have the skills to build my own tiny house.” Greg researched the project, learning everything he could on the subject, and realized that creating his own tiny house business was

Read More »
WildEdge Brewing

Tucker Robinson once worked as an archaeologist who brewed his own beer at home in his spare time. His affinity for making quality microbrews eventually led Tucker to pursue craft brewing as a profession. In 2013, he wrote an initial business plan with the goal of opening his own microbrewery in Cortez, CO. Several years later as his business plan seemed close to completion, Tucker interned at his friend’s brew pub in Rochester, NY. He

Read More »