Support your local Kayak shop

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buck197
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Support your local Kayak shop

Post by buck197 »

With the sad demise of Brookbank potentially and Performance Kayaks ceasing operation recently, is your local shop under threat of closure if you don't support it. Its always great to go in for a chat, coffee, feel the kit, try it on and almost dry run it. I confess I have occasionally been guilty of then going sourcing the product on the net for the cheapest option, I like my local store and I feel I need to support it even if it isn''t the cheapest. These net bargains do not provide me a service just a cheaper product.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by twopigs »

Use it or lose it.....
Canoeing - bigger boat, broken paddle, more skill!

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Dizzykayaker
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Dizzykayaker »

If only you had all worked that out a little sooner, we would have still been there.
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Performance Kayaks
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Performance Kayaks »

The ironic thing is that there are no cheap deals on the Internet. All the shops get their stock within a few percent.

What people need to understand is that if you want an Internet price, you should receive an Internet service. If you want good advise and good service, you should expect to pay for it as the person has helped you get the right product.

We closed because we were fed up of our customers wanting the advise but also wanting the cheap price too. Luckily we got out not owing anybody any money.

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Kev W
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Kev W »

Geeez, not good, Paddleworks at Mile end mill in Llangollen is to close shortly as well and go online.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by CHEWITT »

Strange but I was thinking the same too. Bad news for the shop an the manufacturers as well, i for one will be unlikely too try different manufacturers kit (unless the ones I'm using are poor of course) due to the inability to try on easily / return.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Tom_Laws »

Struggling to find a new favourite paddle shop in the absence of Rich and Dizz. Pete at Summit to Sea has been fantastic, and the Surflines fellas came up with goods today, but neither of them have taken me for dinner yet. I miss PK. Come and visit you big bunch of softies.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Mark R »

Image

The entire staff of my local kayak shop.
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Performance Kayaks
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Performance Kayaks »

Kev W wrote:Paddleworks at Mile end mill in Llangollen is to close shortly as well and go online.
That won't happen from our experience.
Tom_Laws wrote:Struggling to find a new favourite paddle shop in the absence of Rich and Dizz. Pete at Summit to Sea has been fantastic, and the Surflines fellas came up with goods today, but neither of them have taken me for dinner yet. I miss PK. Come and visit you big bunch of softies.
Thanks Tom, we miss you too. We will come and visit, but we are struggling to work out how we managed to open the shop on a Saturday as our weekends are so full now!!!

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by DaveBland »

It's an interesting debate. Okay it's a different continent, but Calgary supports two very good paddling shops.
They both go to extreme measures to hold and sponsor festivals, races and events. Both offer training and clinics and trips to far away lands. I'm sure the shops make as much or more from the coaching and training as they do the sales.
For gear, they both cost a bit more than you can get things on the internet, but the locals do invariably shop there as they do so much for the local paddlers.
Okay this is a 'paddling area', but I'd guess there is a higher density of paddlers in the UK around each shop.

So I'm wondering whether to be a viable paddling 'business', you need to have lots of income streams – and whether being in an area away from paddling, by default limits those opportunities? If you can only be a shop, how can you compete with the internet?
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Jonny Briggs
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Jonny Briggs »

Destination retailing, all the big shops do it. You have to create an experience.

Topshop now have DJ's and club like lighting, it makes you in the mood and want to buy the "dress" for the club later. Abercrombie, Jack Wills all create a shopping experience, you are not in a shop but in a show. However these guys have big money to spend on add on's.

Gear on a shelf and a boat in a shop does not inspire me to go paddling and thus not purchase the equipment. However at an event, surrounded by like minded people participating in the activity creates an environment where you want to immerse yourself more in the sport. Same as Topshop does really, creates an event out of shopping. I guess this is what the shops in Calgary does.

I don't really have a conclusion, I guess its more of an observation.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Performance Kayaks »

Jonny Briggs wrote:Destination retailing, all the big shops do it. You have to create an experience.
Interesting that you say 'All the big shops do it'.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by DaveBland »

That's a good point and no, paddling shops don't have the budgets to create an environment like Abercrombie [although they would save on eleccy with all the lights out], but the friendly, relaxed, talk about paddling atmosphere does the same job.

And you are right, it's all about 'being in the moment'. When we were in Hood River OR, we called in the Kayak Shed most days, chatted, checked the levels, saw who was about and paddling, got advice etc. No pressure to buy anything from them. As it was we all felt so grateful we each bought something [that we probably didn't fully need] as a mark of gratitude.

The point I was making is that a shop in say, Birmingham may well have loads of paddlers in it's catchment area, but will be hard pressed to offer courses, training etc to supplement/feed customers into their retail sales. On the other hand, a shop near HPP or say in Devon would have more opportunity to offer something other than just retail.
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Jonny Briggs
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Jonny Briggs »

Performance Kayaks wrote:
Jonny Briggs wrote:Destination retailing, all the big shops do it. You have to create an experience.
Interesting that you say 'All the big shops do it'.
Big shops I mean A n F, Topshop, Apple. These supply consumer products that we don't need but covert and has to convince us to buy the products. Kayak equipment falls under the category of not needed but wanted. B and Q, supermarkets all provide things we need and dont have to provide that retail experience to make us part with our money. Fuel forecourts being an excellent example.

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Kev W
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Kev W »

Interesting thoughts. Personally I would have thought paddle works at Llangollen was in the perfect place but again it will close shortly. I'm sure the access wrangling on site haven't helped but to be honest I always found the shop a little sterile. I've rarely seen people buying when I've been in there. I always thought Eddylines was much more vibrant and busy, but again that didn't last.
I think the closure of shops will affect potential new paddlers entering the sport as when you start you want to look at all the gear before buying

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Jim
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Jim »

DaveBland wrote:And you are right, it's all about 'being in the moment'. When we were in Hood River OR, we called in the Kayak Shed most days, chatted, checked the levels, saw who was about and paddling, got advice etc. No pressure to buy anything from them. As it was we all felt so grateful we each bought something [that we probably didn't fully need] as a mark of gratitude.
I recall there being 2 paddling shops in Hood River, I hadn't even started kite surfing at the time but it still rated as my favourite place just for having 2 paddling shops!

We got there pretty close to the end of our trip having started in REI in Seattle who has an anniversary sale, a paddle shop in Seattle whch I think didn't have anything I liked, and spent a good while in Leavenworth Mountain Sports where I think I bought my current BA, and a semi dry cag although the real coup there was when they guy asked us about flying with our paddles (being johnny foreigners to him obviously) and we told him about our 4-piece Lendal paddloks. We ended up bringing a set into the shop for them to check out which resulted in them asking for Lendals contact details. I have no idea if they ever followed up but we certainly felt like we had just done a cracking job marketing Lendal just over the hill from Werners factory and a stones throw from the river their no.1 paddle at the time was named after.... :-)
I don't think we had any money left or needed anything by the time we got to Hood river, but the shops gave us great info on the condition of local rivers, and a shortcut to get up to the Clackamas playhole which had been running well but was dropping. I might have bought a noseclip or something :-

Oh yeah, I bought my new BA after swimming an easy bit on the Sky where I discovered that the one I had taken with me was a little lacking. It's probably about time to support my local shop by buying another one, I have been checking them out at events and stuff recently but I haven't found one I like yet..... Must resist going online to see if I can still get one the same as i have!

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by ChrisE »

I've got a feeling that partially paddleworks might be being kicked out by nomad, who own the site.
Although I can't remember any basis for this other than a strange feeling I have...

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by scottdog007 »

I have probably 4 or 5 paddling stores all about 1 hour drive from me. When I first started out I went to one of those stores with the intension of being kitted out fully in all the gear. Being totally naive I had to rely on the shop assistants recommendations. I ended up buying so much junk. I got a paddle that I have probably used 3 times in my life (in a pool) and they charged me the wrong price (so for the higher model up). I got a spray deck completely wrong size for the boat I had and instantly had to order another off ebay as I didn't want the 2 hour drive just to change it. I got booties that I have since worn 3 or 4 times then later went and bought some desent shoes, a BA that made me look like the Michelin man and was so restrictive. They gave me the worse service I could possibly get.

I've never been back and certainly I couldn't care a toss if they disappeared off the map.

Saying this, I have since had good service from Brookbank London and excellent service from WW Centre Shepperton and I have spent loads of dosh with both of them.

I feel so sorry for those loosing their jobs at Brookbank and wish them the best for the future.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by SimonMW »

So I'm wondering whether to be a viable paddling 'business', you need to have lots of income streams – and whether being in an area away from paddling, by default limits those opportunities? If you can only be a shop, how can you compete with the internet?
Thing is most of these shops were really internet shops anyway. I'm stunned Brookbank afforded the spaces they had, when I'd imagine that most of their business would have been through the internet anyway. Don't get me wrong, they were great people and I always had a good chat with them and they gave great advise, but I don't ever remember seeing another customer in the shop (Warwick) at the same time as me, even on a nice sunny weekend day.

A paddling shop will be in catch 22. It needs decent varieties of stock for when customers go there. But kayaks etc take up a lot of retail space, which isn't cheap. So it isn't practical to have a shop in a town because the rates would be far too high.

AS Watersports are in a unique position in that they are based on a busy promenade with cafes etc, and a nice area of water for flat water demoing of boats, and their stock holding warehouse is within walking distance of the shop premises. It's a perfect location. It also helps that they are based near a white water mecca of the UK and also not too far from the sea.

These industrial estate based stores are immediately at a disadvantage since they can't utilise passing trade in the same way, and if they are not near any water it makes demoing a boat a bit of a pain, especially if you want to demo a number of them.

I now only have one shop in relative locality to me, Outdoor Active in Gloucestershire. Hopefully they will keep going as they have a solid base at CIWW for demos etc. I'm happy to say that I bought all my gear in person either from Brookbank Warwick or Outdoor Active at Damery precisely because I know these shops need supporting, but also because I appreciate the advice that they give and the ability to actually try gear on to make sure that it is right! As someone else said, use it or lose it.

I don't believe that there is the market to support big chains, let alone if the shops themselves are way out of town on a hard to find industrial estate.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by scottdog007 »

I wonder how the 'Go Outdoor' are doing? These stores are massive and extremely cheap goods, generally doing camping and walking equipment, but they also include skiing, rock climbing and cycling. So may be this is the way to go, have many variety of areas.

But saying that you still need a big space area plus loads of stock, so it must be difficult.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Voodoo »

ChrisE wrote:I've got a feeling that partially paddleworks might be being kicked out by nomad, who own the site.
Although I can't remember any basis for this other than a strange feeling I have...

Nothing to do with that at all, Chris(PW) and Mike ( Nomad) are still on the best of tearms and have had a working realiship long before the Shop ever opened up,
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Gareth dj »

It is sad to see shops close, and people lose their jobs / dreams.

However, retail is changing and i would suggest that specific sports stores are probably at the forefront of this change as their customers and margins are smaller and as such they cannot ride out the coming transition. I see the support your local shop mantra when it comes to cycling, yet they are suffering from the change in retail as well, despite seeing a boom in participation. I do try and support my local cycling shops, yet i find myself shopping more and more online for components / clothing as the nearest shop which provides a good service (for me) is to far away. I am not made of money and for objects i know i want i will go online, when i haveneed for specific advise i will travel to the shop i trust, and they get my business.

Canoe retail will survive, but it will be different. (IMO) Large chains will disapear, but good knowledgeable independant retailers will survive - however there will be fewer of them and only the best will survive. Expect to see more manufacturers go direct selling and maybe moving into retail themselves. I could see a canoe manufacturer store based at a honey pot location (such as tryweryn) along the lines of specialized concept stores - more of a physical place that you can see there products, than a store - with the knowledge that some sales will occur on site, but mostly people will see their products then go make an online sale based on price.

Tough times, but people still need kayaking kit, its just the channels that people purchase it through are changing.

Gareth

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Peter Holgate
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Peter Holgate »

Here's my bit...
You'll note that I have an web site that sells kayaking kit. The thing is that it was impossible to set up without having a shop.... A real shop that people could walk into. The suppliers just said "no we won't supply an internet shop" . It makes perfect sense once you have gone through the process. It's difficult to do requires capital and the last thing you want is to see something you've paid for and have in stock for sale by someone trading from home and making £2 an item.

If I could influence my suppliers I would request blanket bans on the advertising and selling of new goods on ebay and Amazon . There are many non kayak related companies that now have this policy and it is getting their stock back into proper shops and sold by people who care. It seems to be working and the shops get the profits and survive rather than loosing 10% to a conglomerate with questionable ethics.

In amongst the Brookbank problem it seems to have missed some of you that the biggest chain of shops in the UK have announced expansion plans in the last 2 weeks ... and the idea of a chain of shops works for them.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Sickboy »

SimonMW wrote: Thing is most of these shops were really internet shops anyway. I'm stunned Brookbank afforded the spaces they had, when I'd imagine that most of their business would have been through the internet anyway.
Simons hit the nail there, all shops now need to have an internet face atleast, its the only way to survive.
I'm hard pressed too think of a web only paddling shop in the UK that I've bought from. I've bought from brookbank over the internet and nowadays with LV count it as my local shop.
But then I've ordered paddles from summit to sea (the other side of the country), am I doing my local paddle shop a disservice by buying from another shop? Nay, they didn't stock what I wanted and rarely do (not brookbank).
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by ruralweb »

I wonder how the 'Go Outdoor' are doing? These stores are massive and extremely cheap goods, generally doing camping and walking equipment, but they also include skiing, rock climbing and cycling. So may be this is the way to go, have many variety of areas.
A go outdoor has recently opened near me and there Are always people in when I visit, in the summer it was packed. However I don't think it's that cheap But they do the same as brookbank did and get you to buy a discount card so you think you are getting a good deal everytime you shop and they also constantly do short offer deals. The down side is that the local specialist shops are suffering and already a few have closed because trade has dropped off.
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by SimonMW »

UK have announced expansion plans in the last 2 weeks ... and the idea of a chain of shops works for them.
It hasn't escaped my attention. It will be interesting to see what they do. Cheltenham Canoes closed down previously due to issues of finding somewhere new to move to. They used to be on an industrial estate although it wasn't too far out of town. Will be interesting to see where they relocate to.

Although the closure of Brookbank does leave them as the only canoe/kayak shop chain in the UK, so they may benefit. I do miss Cheltenham Canoes as they were only 25 minutes away, so it will be good when they come back.

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Peter Holgate
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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by Peter Holgate »

I don't know if its just me but the Go Outdoors thing turns me off shopping for outdoors stuff. It's something about seeing brands I used to aspire to owning being mass manufactured and sold cheap in a super market style.
I used to go for a trip to Wales and designate a few hours on the return to go round the outdoor shops ...but its lost its interest.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by clarky999 »

SimonMW wrote:[

I now only have one shop in relative locality to me, Outdoor Active in Gloucestershire. Hopefully they will keep going as they have a solid base at CIWW for demos etc. I'm happy to say that I bought all my gear in person either from Brookbank Warwick or Outdoor Active at Damery precisely because I know these shops need supporting, but also because I appreciate the advice that they give and the ability to actually try gear on to make sure that it is right! As someone else said, use it or lose it.
If Warwick was OK for you, check out the Leam Boat Centre/Canoe Kayak Trader in Leamington - on the river so demos are no problem, nice staff, etc.

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by ruralweb »

I used to go for a trip to Wales and designate a few hours on the return to go round the outdoor shops ...but its lost its interest.
Me too - there are far too many outdoor shops these days.
Mal

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Re: Support your local Kayak shop

Post by up and under »

As an independent retailer we can identify with your comments. Up and Under in Cardiff has been providing people with watersports product since the mid 70’s and we have long enjoyed a great relationship with our local customers and clubs. With the advent of internet retailing, customers have gained a heightened awareness of price variances both nationally and globally. However we have always felt that selling purely on price cannot provide the best for our customers and that price matching or beating is a recipe for disaster. We strongly feel that customers value quality of service, face to face expert advice, breadth of range and a hands on browsing experience over saving a couple of extra pounds or buying a less appropriate product. To allow us to best provide all of the above we have a large two-storey shop with good parking and easy access from either the city centre or from the M4 in South Wales.



Having said this we do understand that not everyone (even relatively local customers) can always make it to our store so we created our competitive and informative website www.upandunder.co.uk back in 1999. Our current site shows live stock levels and has exactly the same trusted product range that we have selected to display in our store. The ability to buy goods from our website knowing that stock is available and will be delivered the next working day means that; wherever you are, if your local retailer has run out of stock and cannot get you the products you need in time you can still get hold of it in time from ourselves. You will also be able to rest assured that you are helping to support a specialist independent retailer within the UK.

Best Wishes

Team Up and Under

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