Each month we’ll be featuring one of the fine retailers who have been so supportive of Kitelife and other areas of the kiting community…The retailers you’ll find here are established, proven vendors.
77 Center St.
Crystal Lake, IL
Hours of operation:
24/7/365 (though we prefer phone calls during normal business hours)
No physical floor space yet – online only.
Years advertising with Kitelife:
We’re the new kids on the block. We opened our doors (urls?) in January 2011 and knew early on that we were going to advertise with Kitelife. We started ads in April 2011.
Owner and/or manager names:
Britt O’Halloran along with my wife Lisa and our daughter Charlotte (not too helpful yet at 6 months old!)
If the last name of O’Halloran didn’t give it away, I’m a good irishman and I love my potatoes.
Last book read:
I typically don’t have the attention span to sit down with a book, but for reading I keep up with technology blogs; (Lifehacker, Engadget, anything Android), XKCD, Seth Godin, and Dave Ramsey (personal finance).
Favorite kite web site:
GWTW forum. It has wealth of information and is a very active community.
Favorite flying spot:
Lippold Park, Crystal Lake, IL
It is hard to find a place with consistent wind in the Midwest, and Lippold park is as close as I’ve found locally.
Specialty of the store:
Our plan is to become the “all kite index”. A huge portion of the kite market comes from individual builders who – for good reason – only build kites on custom orders. You pick the colors and other options, and the kite is built specially for you. I want to list all of the kites available, even though I won’t be selling them directly.
The key here is keeping it free forever (no fee, no commission), and letting the builders retain control over the content of their listings.
In terms of kite types, we’re currently focused on dual line deltas. I plan to eventually include quads and dual/quad foils, but I want to do one thing really well before I expand.
Motivation for opening a kite business:
Very simple. When I started to get into stunt kites, I was surprised that there wasn’t a central listing of all kites from all makers.
The marketplace is currently very fragmented and somewhat underground, especially the smaller handcrafted operations. I’m trying to list as many of the small kite makers as will allow me in an attempt to unite the community.
Most important advice ever received:
“A good plan violently executed right now is far better than a perfect plan executed next week.” Originally a George Patton quote, but reiterated by Seth Godin and many others. In business as in life, I find that taking action and finding your way is better than trying to plan everything out perfectly before taking the first step.
Nicest Sale Ever Made:
Any sale I can make for the smaller kite makers I list is my favorite sale. These people are craftsmen in the truest sense of the word, and I love when their craft is recognized.
Best fringe benefit as owner/manager:
Obviously getting to see all the new stuff from each manufacturer is really nice. Meeting all sorts of interesting kite folks is great too.
Favorite issue of Kitelife:
I can do better than that – my favorite article is the Jon Trennepohl interview in Issue 50 (Sep/Oct 2006).
As a mechanical engineer I’ve always been interested in the highly engineered materials going into the higher end kites, especially Sky Shark wrapped carbon tubes. Reading about the origins of Sky Shark and their rise to become the standard choice for high quality kites is a great story.
If you’re interested in or excited about the possibility of an all-inclusive kite index or have feedback on how I’m implementing it so far, please contact me.
I’d love to hear your thoughts, ideas, cautions, or any other input.