YakAngler (YA) What made you decide to buy Austin Kayak?
Austin Kayak (AK) We sort of lucked in to the business. Peter, my business partner (who also happens to be my brother) and I were looking for a small business that was related to the outdoors that we could really make an impact on. He was living in Austin when I stumbled across a posting for Austin Canoe & Kayak on the web. At the time it was only one store and no internet sales. I flew into town from Atlanta and we checked it out. The rest is history…
(Peter and Steve Messana, and Chris Hackard owners of Austin Canoe and Kayak)
(YA) Tell us a little about the Austin Kayak crew?
(AK) All of us enjoy the outdoors. Not everyone here is a hardcore kayaker, but everyone loves to get outside and into nature. In addition to kayaking and kayak fishing a lot of us enjoy things like adventure racing, rock climbing, camping, hunting, diving and hiking. You can see a lot of the influences of our interests in the wide variety of gear that we carry.
(Snowing in Teaxs, Alan in front of ACK)
(YA) How long has the “the crew” been kayaking/kayak fishing?
(AK) The crew is made up of over 25 associates, so there is varying degrees of experience and interest. There are some hardcore kayakers that take every non-working opportunity to get out on the water and paddle or wet a line, and then there are others that only get out occasionally.
(YA) What is your best selling kayak?
(AK) We don’t sell kayaks based on the best sellers as we are more concerned with finding the right boat for the individual and their intended application. That being said I won’t narrow it down to the overall best seller. For the Tandems it is the Ocean Kayak Malibu 2 XL, a tried and true performer. For fishing it’s been the Tarpon series for the past several years, but the Ocean Kayak Trident series has come on strong lately. For the sit-insides it’s the Old Town Vapor 10, inexpensive yet solid.
(YA) What is your best selling accessory?
(AK) Our bungee paddle leashes always rate high and we move through a massive amount of assorted hardware like rivets, cleats and stainless steel screws.
(Kate Austin Canoe and Kayak Staff)
(YA) How do you stay competitive in the online price game?
(AK) We don’t focus too heavily on the pricing game. We are more concerned with making sure that we have the right items, in stock and ready to go when our customers need them.
(YA) Since introducing your online store has web sales surpassed in house sales?
(AK) We don’t disclose this information but I will say that our online store is a large and important part of our business and we run it very similarly to our brick and mortar stores. Customer service is paramount in both the virtual world and on the street.
(YA) Have you seen any new products that you think will be the next big thing in the kayaking industry?
(AK) We are interested to see how the Stand Up boards might be adapted to angling, but I think for the most part we will continue to see significant innovation in the fishing products as they relate to kayaking.
(Chris from ACK fishing in his kayak)
(YA) Why do you think kayak fishing has really taken off in the past few years?
(AK) I think that with the cost of gas rising in the last few years and the economy slumping, more people are turning to kayaks since they are extremely cost effective. I also think that the continued exposure and increased availability of tournaments will open the eyes of other anglers to the benefits, especially how well kayaks perform in the ‘skinny’ water and get into places that power boats can’t.
(YA) Any equipment recommendations for the novice kayak angler?
(AK) Every kayaker should make sure that they have the basics. A PFD, paddle and whistle. If you are new to kayak fishing I highly recommend using your new kayak for a few trial runs before installing things like rod holders or trolleys. Figure out what gear you really need and where you expect it to be. Reach back or forward to where you think you’d like to place the rod holders and make sure you can reach them and that they won’t be in the way of something else.
(YA) Does Austin Kayak have a company vision?
(AK) Austin Kayak is successful because of our unwavering customer service and dedication and love of the exploration of the outdoors. Our goal is to be the first and finest source and resource for canoeing and kayaking gear.
(YA) Country or Rock and Roll?
(AK) You’ll hear it all here …this is Austin, the “Music Capitol of the World”.
(YA) How much is this YAKANG15 coupon worth?
(AK) We’d like to offer 15% off all accessories to your readers. This promo will be valid until March 31th. Readers can take advantage of this promotion by going to http://www.austinkayak.com/yakang15
I'd like to thank Steve for taking the time to talk to us, check out Austin Canoe and Kayak at www.austinkayak.com