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John Barresi

Who is your favorite kite shop at the moment?

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My Favorite Kite Store at the moment is Kites & Fun Things dot com. The store is owned by Jon and Marieanne Tennepohl, the folks that design and make and sell Skyburner Kites. I have emailed them and spoke with them on the phone, and always get a prompt and friendly answer when I call. I purchased my Niknak from them about a month ago, and even though they had to make the kite because they were out of stock, it arrived at my door in about 2 weeks. I just ordered a Widow NG from them , this past Sunday, and it is being delivered today. Great products, great customer service, can't beat it.

http://www.kitesandfunthings.com/

My other favorite store is Flying Smiles Kites run by Cath and Eliot Shook. I recently purchased a couple of Magic Sticks for my Revs, and I called the store prior to and after the purchase, and received all the information I needed. I will certainly order any Rev gear I need from them in the future.

http://www.flyingsmileskites.com/wordpress/

Now the other side of the coin. Shops I will never deal with, are shops that won't return voicemails or emails, especially when I am inquiring about buying a kite or some other expensive product. They do that once to me, and I vote with my feet. My other pet peeve is someone trying to charge me $15 to ship a part that is a few dollars, weighs about an ounce or less, and could go in an small envelope with a first class postage on it Then when I email the company asking about the shipping charges, they ignore my email. Not a way to win customers, but I guess some stores don't really care if they have any customers. :ani_wallbash:

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You know, sometimes, the truth just hurts...........

I too, am very familiar, with the businesses (that you mentioned).

I understand what you are saying, and likewise, I have similar feelings. All great folks !

Communications, for sure, is the key to a good online store & a good customer relationship !

The lack of which, leaves much to be desired..........

However, in defense of those that don't measure up (and not rebutting anything you said), there may be some background circumstances, of which we are all, not aware.

Still, the fact remains.......service & communications, are the key, and that first impression can last a lifetime.......... :ani_victory:

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Being an international customer, email is key to service. With time zones and shift work a phone call just isn't practical. I admit to being a bit lazy to return an email but I'm not running a business from it. If I get good service, I'm a repeat customer. I wouldn't name the ones I've had poor service publicly as there may be circumstances that don't know. I recommended the ones if had good service from.

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Being an international customer, email is key to service. With time zones and shift work a phone call just isn't practical. I admit to being a bit lazy to return an email but I'm not running a business from it. If I get good service, I'm a repeat customer. I wouldn't name the ones I've had poor service publicly as there may be circumstances that don't know. I recommended the ones if had good service from.

Businesses rely on emails today, more than voice mails, or handling phone calls which most workers hate anyway. You have a written record of the conversation, date and time stamped, and it's free and efficient. There can be no misinterpretation, or he said-she said confusion, and lets face it, it's the 21st century and that's the way it is in today's world. If you don't get up to speed with this mode of communication, you will be left in the weeds or go out of business altogether. No excuses in the business world, you get the job done, or move out of the way and let someone else do it. There is nothing more upsetting to a customer, than for them to send an email in to a company, and never get a response.

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My first 'real' kite purchase was from Into The Wind. Great service, great free catalog, great store front in Boulder. My recently purchased Rev came from Chicago Kite....a great experience too!

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I've bought most of my kites from kite connection in HB cause Dave and his team were always willing to give free lessons and tons of knowledge away with purchase of a kite.

I recently bought from A wind of change and they were easy to deal with too.

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I'm partial to Kitty Hawk Kites. They have several locations on that wonderful strip of sand we call OBX and a handful more in FL, VA, and NH.

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I recently got back into kiting after about a 25 year break and wanted to see whats new on the market in person. Cobra Kites in Toms River, NJ fit the bill so I went for a drive and after spending a few hundred dollars, I've been flying kites about 3 times a week. They were a great help and they have a very comprehensive website.

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Flying Smiles Kites in Corolla, NC. Cath and Eliot Shook have taken the most money from me, all gladly spent, the last several years.

Kites Unlimited in Atlantic Beach, NC. Another great store that hasn't gotten as much from me simply because I don't get down there to visit as much as I'd like.

Those two stores are REAL kite stores, run by real kite people. Real nice kite people too! (Isn't that usually the case?)

Kitty Hawk Kites I frequent quite often and they get a bunch of my money for miscellaneous stuff simply for the fact they're convenient to where I fly a lot, which is Jockey's Ridge. There are a couple of folks in there that know a bit about kites, but for the most part the sales people aren't kite people. It's simply a store that happens to sell kites along with other stuff. Nice enough folks and there are stores galore, but not too knowledgeable, generally.

Online, I've only ever dealt with a couple of places. Had to call Prism a time or two about certain things and they've ALWAYS been top-notch to deal with. Into the Wind was great to deal with as well. Fly Market Kitemaking Supply was friendly and easy to deal with when I ordered some items from them earlier this year.

The US Postal Service....

Not so much. Express two day shipping shouldn't take two weeks. And there is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY to call someone to try to find where your package is and what happened to it. USPS customer service is a harsh, harsh joke and I can believe it's deliberately designed to make you "go postal". The words I want to use to describe how I feel about their customer service can't be used on this family friendly forum.

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Currently my favorite shop is Ocean Shores Kites. Andy, the owner, is an avid flyer and great at repairs. I've had him fix a bunch of kites and he's very creative and capable. Nice to have a kite shop owner who knows his way around a sewing machine. They stock lots of high end kites, Duals, quads and SLKs. The SLK stuff is really great. Tons of 'biners, pulleys, sand anchors, etc and lots and lots of kites. Lifters of all types, an entire sled section, all sorts of DDCs, some double Fench Militarys, and some costum pieces as well. They also have some large inflatables to fly below a pilot. They usually have a good selection of Sky Burner duals, and all the vented revs you could want. When I'm in the mood for a new kite and don't have somethng specific in mind, I really enjoy taking a trip to Ocean Shores and buying what he has on hand, then staying a few days to fly it.

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I'd be hard pressed to choose between either of the Northwest Winds shops (Seaside and Lincoln City, Oregon) and The Kite Company in Newport. All three have given us great service and advice. Ted at the Seaside store has been great to work with.

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I like Northwest winds, too. They stock all the cool SLK stuff. I'm afraid to spend too much time in there... Might have to take out a second morgage.....

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*Updating this Thread

Many times if at all possible, I prefer to shop local.

Bought my first Stunt kite (New Tech Kites Detonator) in 2002 here. Since then I've moved on to single line, sleds, power kites, etc.

B&S Kite Shop

Bill, Susie and John Doan | 2812 Padre Blvd, South Padre Island, TX 78597 | 956-761-1248 | "Free Lessons... No Strings Attached"

Great Service and Advice, Friendly Atmosphere.

Always willing to go above and beyond to teach!

 

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Keith at the Kite Company in Newport Oregon is a good guy. Very knowledgeable and good at kite repair. He has lots of parts on hand also. Decent selection of factory kites. He doesn't sell Prism kites last I was in there. I like his style, if you ask, he has no problem telling you what he thinks. I always stop in there for a visit with him and buy something if I pass through when they are open. They sell online also but I haven't bought from the online store. They used to make kites a long time ago.

https://thekitecompany.com/

 

Another vote for Ocean Shores Kites. Their kite selection is probably the best that I have seen, and they carry good stuff. Andy is also a really nice guy, and very knowledgeable also. Another one that calls it like he sees it. He sells online also.

It sounds like both of these shops are barely hanging in there....

 

Gasworks Kite shop in Seattle was good before they closed.

I read this post about Prism having to cut costs. Something about not going to stock or make parts anymore for old discontinued kites when they run out.

 

 

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Into The Wind is the only one in my area. Talked on the phone to a few shops and everyone was a excellent experience. I'm a cheapskate so my favorite is always the one that has the best kite deal or parts package that I need to put together at that time. People like me are part of the reason so many have closed.Sometimes things are just Gone With The Wind .

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When I was a kid my mom worked on Pearl street mall and I would spend hours drooling over the kites in the Into The Wind Shoppe. Now that I’m in the PNW I love going into OSK, and Andy is awesome to deal with. Theresa at The Kite Shoppe is awesome and will hand deliver items to most of the clinics and probably all of the festivals around here and always has some goodies for me to purchase or add to my want list. A Wind Of Change is also a good one to browse online.


Sent from my iPhone using KiteLife mobile app

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I bought my current Widow NG from A Wind Of Change because they had the color I wanted in stock and no one else did at the time. She inspected it for me before shipping it. Excellent customer service.

I think I bought a lineset from there as well.

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Gotta dig this one up and ask; what's going on with A Wind Of Change? I placed an order last Tuesday and have had no response - cannot get a hold of anyone on the phone or by email...

I know they are moving into their new brick and morter location but a note on the website would be nice so we can know our orders are being processed or will be delayed, or... Anyone know of alternate means to get a hold of them?

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2 hours ago, philm63 said:

Gotta dig this one up and ask; what's going on with A Wind Of Change? I placed an order last Tuesday and have had no response - cannot get a hold of anyone on the phone or by email...

I know they are moving into their new brick and morter location but a note on the website would be nice so we can know our orders are being processed or will be delayed, or... Anyone know of alternate means to get a hold of them?

Sorry - haven't dealt with Kent in quite a while. Not because of problems, just that I've found those things I needed here in the PNW locally. Didn't know they were going to open another brick and mortar store in SLC. They did have one when they were in Las Vegas. When they moved, it was all online only.

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On 9/30/2019 at 7:59 AM, philm63 said:

Gotta dig this one up and ask; what's going on with A Wind Of Change?

They moved to SLC four or five years ago, and transitioned the store to online only running out of their home.  IIRC there was a family tragedy shortly after they moved, and among the changes they decided to keep the store online instead of a physical presence.

They kept the online store running and continue to be a major distributor. They've always responded within a business day when I've worked with them, and I've had quite a few orders from them over the years, including some orders earlier this year.

It may be as simple as the family taking a vacation, they have young children. Last week had a school holiday, I believe a day for teachers to do grades for the end of the first semester, so maybe they took some time off?  I do agree their online presence and social media accounts need to be updated.

 

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Just got a response from Daelyn at AWOC. Wanted to believe, and alas; all is well. They were at a festival, that's all - couldn't get to emails and such. Thanks all for the support. I've also shopped at The Kite Shoppe - Theresa made me a set of lines recently - waiting for my new Widow NG to show up so I can try them out. Also like Into the Wind where I bought my first kite (ITW Spider).

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