Issue 65: Featured Store: Into The Wind

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.

Into The Wind
1408 Pearl St.
Boulder, CO  80302
303-449-5356 or 800-541-0314

Floor space:

Retail store 2,600 sq ft; 12,000 sq ft total
(includes store, backstock and mail order)

Hours of operation:

Mail Order: M-F 9am-6pm
Retail: M-Sat 10am-9:30pm and Sun 10am-6pm

Years in business:

27 years.

Years advertising with Kitelife:

Since March of 2000.

Owner(s) and/or manager:

Owners- George Emmons (61).
Managers- Mary Ann McVay (46), Paul Kusler (40), Mike McIlroy (27).

Favorite food(s):

Shrimp and french fries (George).

Last book read:

A book on search engines (George).

Favorite kite web site:

Favorite flying spot:


Specialty of the store:

Toys that make adults feel like kids.

Constantly striving to grow their niche; ITW has been heavily into toys long before it became industry practice. Our mail order catalog and website have also led the industry in scope and selection.

Motivation for opening a kite business:

Architectural burnout… In 1980, Architects George Emmons and Jim Glass opened Into The Wind in a 350 sq. ft. space next to a natural foods restaurant in Boulder, Colorado. Despite the excellent food at the restaurant, they quickly realized that they were going to starve just selling kites in their small, obscure location. Inspired by necessity, they added toys (many of which didn’t even fly!), started making kites and began selling kites by mail.

Most important advice ever received:

Your employees are your most valuable asset.

Nicest sale ever made:

IBM and The United Way You Make It Fly Campaign, $6,000 sale in 1985.

Best fringe benefit as owner/manager:

Getting to fly kites, of course.

In today’s world of big box stores and corporate giants, ITW proves that “mom and pop” (or pop and pop) shops can succeed. Evolve to fit your community, trust your instincts and your staff, use and believe in your product, and in the end, maybe you won’t have to starve after all. And if you can do it by taking your customers back to their childhood, you can also remind the world that play is important, no matter how old you are. A lesson needed now more than ever.