Learning to kiteboard with Traverse City brothers Matt and Keegan Myers in 2003 wound up leading Nick Madrick on a journey of a different kind. He ultimately teamed up with the duo in 2016 to run their Michigan-made M22 apparel brand.
“It’s kind of a cool story how we all met,” Madrick says. “I loved growing up on the water (around Petoskey and Walloon Lake). One day I came across some images of kiteboarding and was like, ‘I’ve got to try it.’ “
The wind-and-waves-loving brothers, both in their early 20s back then, had founded Broneah Kiteboarding, which they essentially operated out of a cargo van. They offered to give Madrick, a high school senior, lessons. They first hung out at Point Betsie Lighthouse Beach and Madrick quickly became enthralled by the sport, which involves standing on a board while harnessing wind power with a large kite and being pulled across the water.
After their second day of bonding on the water, the trio realized they were kindred spirits who treasured northern Michigan’s outdoor adventures along the Lake Michigan coast. Little did Madrick anticipate where that friendship would eventually take him. Soon, he was helping the brothers provide kiteboarding lessons in the summer months. He also attended the camps they conducted during the winter months in warm-weather regions.
Eventually they separated, and Madrick and the Myers brothers spent the next dozen years forging their own personal and professional paths — which would, on occasion, intersect.
While pursuing a communications degree at Hope College, Madrick started Stoke International, a clothing and lifestyle brand that was eventually sold in about 75 stores. He also became intrigued with acting, after enrolling in a theater class. Madrick spent 2012 to 2016 living in Charlotte, N.C., and Atlanta pursuing an acting career, as film subsidies made those areas ideal for movie and television production. With the help of an agent, Madrick landed some significant roles, including playing a guard in the 2016 blockbuster “Allegiant” and appearing as a bartender in the 2017 comedy “Office Christmas Party.”
Meanwhile, demand for the Myers brothers’ services only grew. Roughly a year after meeting Madrick, they produced some T-shirts featuring a
logo of the M22 highway road sign
and sold them out of their van before and after giving lessons. The brothers later trademarked the brand and opened a store selling their M22 clothing and accessories in downtown Traverse City.
In 2011, they launched a popular sub-brand called I Love Michigan, which featured a logo with an image of the Lower Peninsula serving as the V.
“I loved seeing Matt and Keegan’s M22 brand take off because it represents the lifestyle and adventurous spirit that’s along the route and surrounding area,” Madrick says.
The company opened a franchise store in Glen Arbor in 2013. In early 2016, the brothers began printing a booklet that listed a variety of activities available along M22, a 117-mile-long highway that follows Lake Michigan and stretches from Manistee into the Leelanau Peninsula, north of Traverse City. They titled their booklet “M22 Microadventures.”
Through it all, an offer for Madrick to join the fun on a full-time basis remained. “We told Nick he always had a spot with us because we knew he was going to crush it from the start,” Keegan says. “He understands M22 is a lifestyle, not just a road.”
In 2016, Madrick finally took his friends up on their offer and was named M22’s chief operating officer. “I loved acting, but I missed my family and close friendships in Michigan,” he says. “When Matt and Keegan heard that, they thought running their operations would be ideal for me.”
Madrick has helped expand M22’s product line and its social media footprint (M22’s Instagram has 107,000 followers), and is working to improve the customer experience and grow the list of M22 Microadventures. He also oversaw expansion of the Traverse City location.
Products now include men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing; caps; bicycling apparel; and accessories including towels, pillows, flags, candles, mugs, magnets, and even dog collars, leashes, and bowls.
Madrick’s duties include purchasing, selling, product development, marketing, design, wholesale account management, and business development. “I oversee all daily operations, and I’m the main wholesale representative and make website improvements,” he says. “I’m also constantly working on long-term product development and expanding our presence to more areas. We’re all determined that everyone who comes into our store or shops online will enjoy the best customer service experience they’ve ever had.”
Among the M22 experiences Madrick most recommends, of course, is kiteboarding, particularly at the Frankfort and Point Betsie Lighthouse beaches. For a satisfying workout, he likes to mountain bike and run the trails of Arcadia Dunes, starting from the Mt. Baldy trailhead off M-22, south of Matzinger Road.
One of Madrick’s favorite places to unwind is pebbly Glen Haven Beach in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. “I love to pack a meal and go out there with my fiancé and our dog, and watch the sun set,” he says. “It’s magical.”
As for the future, Keegan Myers is eagerly anticipating Madrick’s next vision for M22. “Yes, Nick is COO, but we don’t get too caught up in titles with me, Nick, and Matt equally running the company,” he says. “As far as what Nick has done for the M22 brand, I just call him The Man.”