We hope that 2012 was as special of a year for you as it was for us. We can already tell 2013 is also going to be an amazing year but let’s focus on a bit on retrospect. 2012 was a big year for us with significant expansion and new beginnings. Here are a few highlights:
It started off with the launch of what we refer to as our store-within-a-store, Rack Boys both online and at each of our local stores. We saw a need to provide the same level of service to customers seeking auto racks, trailers and sport travel gear.
Kayak Angler Tournament Series
In 2011, we had the opportunity to take over Austin Kayak Fishing, a local kayak fishing forum. With that, we acquired the right to continue hosting one of the state’s largest freshwater kayak fishing tournaments otherwise known as the Kayak Angler Tournament Series. It was a learning process for us but in the end, we were happy with the results and ready for 2013! In fact, we just launched a new site to support the tournament.
Houston Store Fire
Not all was good in 2012. Back in March, our Houston store fell victim to a fire with significant damage to the property and inventory. This was a headache for our Houston staff having to work between a temporary location, on-site storage unit and construction, but in the end they prevailed and our Houston store had a major re-grand opening event and is now better than ever!
New ACK Branding
Also in March, we launched a new look and feel starting with the redesign of our logo and a new tagline, “Outfit You Adventure”. The goal was to capture the essence of what ACK is all about. While paddlesports is and will always be a core part of our business, the new branding better represented our expansion as an all encompassing outdoor adventure retailer.
iPad® & Mobile Optimized Websites
We saw a significant increase (over 2,000%) in iPad use of our website between 2011 and 2012 prompting the launch of our tablet optimized website. While we already had a mobile optimized version of the site, we decided it needed a little bit of a face lift and re-launched it. The mobile site was developed with a focus on providing customers with a shopping experience consistent with the iPad® tablet version.
New ACK Website
In November of 2012, we announced the re-launch of AustinKayak.com which was re-designed and re-engineered to deliver an enhanced outdoor adventure gear shopping experience. This was a huge undertaking specifically because it was built in-house and from the ground up. Based on our customer’s feedback, the end result has proven itself a huge success .
Most notably was the launch of a new store just North of the Houston area in Spring, Texas. The location was selected after careful consideration and in-depth market research. The results clearly identified a healthy and active lifestyle community interested in the great outdoors. The store has only been opened for a month and already is a huge hit in the community!
Two More Awards
We gotta brag a little don’t we? In 2012 we were honored to have received two awards including our second “Kayak Angling Retailer of the Year Award” in the “Kayak Angler Choice Awards” and our fourth Bizrate® Circle of Excellence award — BTW, all thanks to you.
Those were some of our most notable accomplishments but the list doesn’t stop there. We experienced many others such as major warehouse expansion efforts, technological enhancements, significant increases in our product inventory, new hires and much more. Expect to see a press release about these milestones soon. In the meantime, you can read up on some of the aforementioned accomplishments here.
All this was made possible by you, our customers, vendors, partners, families, friends and of course employees and we thank you for it. Once again, we want to wish you and yours a truly wonderful new year. We hope that your new year’s resolutions involve the great outdoors and we can’t wait to be a part of it.
The ACK Family