Dell Children’s Hospital Fishing Event

 


Dell Childrens Hospital Fishing Event ACK Dell

 

 

 

 

 

 

_DSC4965Two weeks ago ACK was able to participate in the annual Dell Children’s Hospital Fishing Event hosted by Cody Greaney, TJ Greaney and Chris Roberts from the Texas Outdoor Zone at the Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, TX. This event has been held for the past 6 years and continues to grow rapidly each time. The main purpose of the event is to introduce the children in the hospital to the world of fishing and get them outside when they may otherwise not have the opportunity. This year there was a catfish pool where the children were able to go fishing, a Cabella’s tent complete with fishing rods to giveaway, and of course our own ACK tent with 2 kayaks and a kiddie pool filled with mini kayaks. Each kayak had a number that corresponded with a bucket filled with prizes. The grow-in-water bugs were by far the fan favorite!

_DSC5088 _DSC5111

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around 9 am the kids and their families started filing out and their happy smiles were enough to wake everyone involved right up! They excitedly went for the various games and the catfish pond to collect their prizes and trophies. When they would make their way to the ACK tent they_DSC5523 would carefully choose their kayak and gleefully pick from the bucket of prizes matching the number they chose. Princess tattoos, ninja turtle bouncy balls, and grow-in-water bugs were all the rage at the ACK tent! Their faces were priceless as they walked away with their new toys to join the other tents including Cabella’s for fishing rods, The Kids Outdoor Zone for bracelets and Yo So Cool FroYo for a tasty treat. After all the fishing festivities, a few Navy Seals came in and parachuted down to the event where the children were able to try on their helmets and pose for pictures.

Watching the children learn to cast a line and see their faces as they caught a catfish was easily one of the best parts of the day. There isn’t anything much better than making a child’s day and the Dell Children’s Fishing Event was definitely _DSC5226one of those events that accomplished just that.

If you are interested in volunteering or donating next year, please contact Cody Greaney at cody@texasoutdoorzone.com. 

 

Wanderlust: The Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon is one of the nations most loved national parks. With its towering walls, seemingly fathomless depths, and the clear blue Colorado flowing below it is no wonder that almost five million people visit this national treasure every year. The Grand Canyon originally began as a Forest Reserve in 1893 then became a National Monument before finally being declared a National Park in 1919, shortly after the creation of the National Park Service three years earlier. Its humble origins make this National Park even more appealing to those seeking for a destination rich with American history and natural wonders.

Grand CanyonThe Grand Canyon chasm runs 277 miles long and up to 18 miles wide and was formed by the Colorado River. It took the Colorado River somewhere between 3 and 6 million years to form the canyon and is continuously being altered by the constant state of erosion, while the river itself flows west through the canyon and is on average about 300 feet wide, 100 feet deep and flows around 4 miles per hour on any given day. The Grand Canyon National Park covers 1,900 square miles of the Grand Canyon and contains 277 miles of the Colorado River. Fun fact: it is populated by five Indian tribes: The Hopi, Navajo, Havasupai, Palute and Hualapai. Havasupai Falls, named after its namesake tribe, is one of the most popular hiking destinations of The Grand Canyon with its crystal clear blue waters and rumbling waterfalls that are sure to amaze.

Not only does the Grand Canyon offer one-of-a-kind sights, it is also home to a large range of outdoor activities that can appeal to outdoorsmen and city-slickers alike.  Feel like Grand Canyon Sunrisehiking? You’ve got tons of options depending on the length of your stay. You can take a few hours to enjoy the rim and Sky Walk, an entire day to explore some of the depths, or a few days to venture to the bottom and enjoy all of the Grand Canyon’s watering holes, Indian dwellings, animals, and ancient rock formations. On a multiple day excursion, you have the benefit of not only going on a beautiful and challenging hike, but also the chance to enjoy camping along the way. If you are more  of a day tripper, be sure to catch the sunrise or sunset. It’s life changing.

For all our kayakers, you can do some Colorado River kayaking that is 100% life changing. These guided tours are for advanced kayakers, however if you are a newbie and feeling a little wild, you can take a support raft to your destination. Kayak and rafting tours are available from local tour companies that offer a wide range of options for any trip you could dream of. Check out a few of these options and choose which touring company is the best fit for you.

Ultimately, The Grand Canyon is guaranteed to appease that need for adventure and the outdoors in one fail swoop. Hiking, camping, kayaking, shopping, photography, and the most beautiful sunset you can imagine are all waiting to be explored at one of America’s favorite outdoor travel destinations.

 

Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) Strives for Exceptional Customer Service

ACK Logo

Free Upgraded Shipping joins Price Matching and Custom Packages to enable ACK to effectively meet customer needs

Austin, Texas (June,11th 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces the launch of Free Upgraded Shipping – the latest enhancement for exceptional Customer Service.  Upgraded Shipping joins streamlined Price Matching and Custom Packages to add to ACK’s customer service options.

Customer service is always the driving force behind ACK’s decisions and the latest upgrades to the shopping experience follow this mantra.  “This is very exciting for us. We always strive to process and ship fast, now this enhancement allows us to deliver equally as fast” said Steve Messana, President of MSP Holdings, adding “The upgraded shipping is automatic and seamless to the customer, if the qualifying shipment will take 4+ days (business days) to reach the customer we automatically move it to FedEx 3-day Express Saver, allowing ACK to reach everyone coast-to-coast in 3 days or less.”

Joining the Upgraded Shipping enhancement is a new Price Matching feature. Price Matching allows the customer to checkout at the price they found online, there is no need to call or email, just place the order with the competitor’s price and if approved the order ships out the same day. After the customer presents the competitive price, the Customer Relationship Managers do a quick search to confirm the lower price and happily match it. ACK is proud to match any competitor’s price, PERIOD. Chase Goble, Customer Relationship Manager, explains it like this, “If we can go to the site, it is the same product, we can add it to a cart and the price is less, we’ll match it.”

The last of the enhancements are the Custom Packages, which now allow the customer to pick the products of their choice to create a one of a kind package. The previous packages were pre-defined leaving the customer with little choice. Now, with the Custom Package option, customers pick the items they’d like to include in their package and enjoy great savings while doing so. One of the most popular packages is the Kayak Package where the customer now has the freedom to pick their favorite kayak, PFD and Paddle; just one of the many custom packages offered.

These enhancements are only the latest in many upgrades to ACK.com. Peter Messana, CEO of MSP Holdings, LLC sums it up best “We never stop listening to our customers and building features that meet their needs. Our team is focused on being the best Outdoor Retailer and we continue to enhance our website to do just that”.

 

The new features are currently live at www.ACK.com.

 

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please contact Dayvee Brower-Warrell at 512-318-2941, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

 

One day in the Austin Store

ACK Austin Store

As the second part of my on-boarding process here at ACK, I was tasked with working a half day at the Austin Store location.  Much like my day in the warehouse, I was excited about this as it was going to be a new experience for me.  As a long standing ACK customer prior to becoming an employee, I had been in the store many times. I went in frequently for new ideas and products to outfit my Diablo Chupacabra so I figured this day would be a breeze.  I would come to find that things were definitely different on the staff side of the store experience.

As I started my day, things were normal and familiar until I received the section by section walk-through of the entire store. For me this was like a kid in a candy store.  I got to look at how every section of the store was built and why.  It’s truly about customer experience.   I understood the layout from a customer perspective but it came together a little more when I looked at it from the staff perspective.  Normally I would browse through products I normally need/use but the walk-through opened my eyes to many new products.

After the store walk-through I was introduced to the install service section.  I had always known this was there but never went in.  I came in at a good time as one of the team members was right in the middle of installing a rudder on the back of a Chup.  This was perfect for me as this is a pending project on my list.  The install team was good!  They were quick, precise and obviously had done this many times.  Next to the service area was the layaway section of the store.  I never knew ACK had layaway program or I would have taken advantage of it a long time ago!

Next, I received a tour of the rental and boat storage.  I never knew this section of ACK existed. This is where I learned about their huge stock of rental inventory. I got excited when I saw which boats were available to rent.  I have a long list of boats I’ve been wanting to try, one being the Hobie Pro Angler.  I’ll be taking this one out very soon!

The rental section wrapped up my tour and now it was time to work the floor.  As customers came in I did my best with the kayak knowledge I had to give them a good experience.  I walked several customers through kayak models and features.  This was probably the best part of the day.  I got to talk about kayaks with people who love kayaking; it doesn’t get much better than that.

While working the floor I got to experience  the expertise of the store staff.  When talking to customers they were able to dissect exactly what the customer’s needs were and point them into a kayak choice that made sense.   I was impressed!

The rest of my time flew by.  I thoroughly enjoyed working the store.  When I was engaged with the customers, it didn’t feel like work-  it felt like I was talking kayaks with some long time friends I had never met before.  I guess that is one of the many great things about kayaking and the ACK community. Ultimately, I think my experience working for a half day at the Austin store allowed me to learn the ins and outs of what makes ACK so different from other outdoor retailers as well as a little extra knowledge in customer service.

-Sam

 

Austin Canoe & Kayak (ACK) Introduces New Search Engine to Power ACK.com

ACK.com now features best in-class search results through the power of Google and GroupBy.

Austin, Texas (May 20th, 2014) – Outdoor retailer, Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), a division of MSP Holdings, LLC announces the launch of a new search engine powering ACK.com. The new search engine is powered by the Google Search Appliance (GSA) with middleware software from GroupBy.  The selection of search providers was based on the need for faster and highly relevant search results that could be used throughout the site for navigation as well as search results; on both desktop and mobile devices. ACK.com maintains a fully responsive design allowing customers to experience not only a flawless shopping experience, but also a seamless search experience no matter which type of device they are using.

The new search engine gives ACK customers dynamic, real-time search capabilities while browsing the site. The search box presents suggestions through Search-As-You-Type technology that suggests the best relevant search terms as well as the best matched brands and products.  This improvement is just one of many to come for ACK.com; Jeremy Arntz, ACK Development Manager, puts it best: “This initial integration is a huge leap forward for ACK, but is just the beginning of what can be done with the Google Search Appliance.” He adds, “There are many exciting things we have planned for the future that are made possible by this enhancement.”

“The Google Search Appliance along with their partner, GroupBy offers a combination of two powerful systems that provided us a means to achieve enterprise class search capability, usually reserved for much larger companies.” said Peter Messana, CEO of MSP Holdings, “Search is key to any ecommerce company, providing the means to find the item fast is what our customers want and we never stop working to meet their needs.”

Some key features of the GSA and GroupBy’s Searchandiser include Dynamic Navigation (filtering), Search-As-You-Type, Results Biasing, Redirects, Spelling, Suggested Search and Site Navigation of Categories.

“We are very proud of having such a great specialty brand like ACK as one of our clients. ACK’s multi-channel experience, which offers the same service, selection and expertise whether in-store or on-line is a key strategy for GroupBy and Google. We look forward to our continued work with ACK as they continue to grow and innovate in their market space. Said Roland Gossage, Managing Partner, GroupBy Inc.

This new feature is currently live at www.ACK.com.

 

About MSP Holdings, LLC

MSP Holdings, LLC operates Austin Canoe and Kayak (ACK), an award-winning paddlesports and outdoor retailer and Rack Boys a vehicle rack and sports travel outfitter dedicated to providing exceptional customer service. Both retail outfits are based out of the central Texas area, with their respective online stores at www.AustinKayak.com and www.RackBoys.com and within five physical locations in Austin, San Marcos, Spring, Houston and San Antonio, Texas.

If you’d like more information about this topic, or to schedule an interview with MSP Holdings, LLC, please contact Dayvee Brower-Warrell at 512-318-2941, or email pr@austinkayak.com.

 

About GroupBy, Inc

GroupBy Inc. provides industry leading commerce and media software solutions that help companies better connect with their customers by providing a more relevant user experience.  This improved experience drives more targeted site traffic, increases revenue and overall customer satisfaction.  Groupby’s solutions provides industry leading features for search, navigation, merchandising, search engine optimization (SEO), and Search as you type (SAYT). GroupBy has offices in Canada, United States, China, and Trinidad & Tobago.

For more information, visit: www.groupbyinc.com Call us +1-647-558-4678, or email team@groupbyinc.com

 

 

Let’s Go Camping

With Spring giving us this beautiful weather and Summer on the horizon, we at ACK can think of only one thing- camping season!Camping What’s better than getting outside and enjoying what nature has to offer with family and friends? Kayaking a nearby river, cooking over an open campfire, and sleeping under the stars are just a few things that make camping one of our favorite things to do when the weather beckons us outside. We strongly believe that with the proper camping gear, a person who may not like camping can be converted into an avid camper. Gone are the days of uncomfortably sleeping on rocks and limited food options. A new and improved way of camping has evolved through the trials and tribulations of campers before us who have given advice and guidance. Not only do campers of days past provide tips and must-haves, apparently our Facebook fans have a few tricks of their own to share! We took to the ACK Facebook page to see what all of you would consider “camping necessities” and got some great ideas. So great in fact, we couldn’t help but share them on our blog! With these items, the next time you hear “Let’s go camping!” you’ll be fully prepared to camp in comfort and style.

Utilities:

  1. Duct Tape
  2. Cast Iron Dutch Oven
  3. Toilet Paper
  4. Food
  5. WaterKayak campsite
  6. Lighter
  7. Knife
  8. Tent
  9. Sleeping Bag
  10. Water Purifier
  11. Rainwear
  12. Topography Map

Must-Haves:

  1. Sense of adventure
  2. Kayak
  3. Fishing Gear
  4. Pillows
  5. Sleeping Pad
  6. Mess Kit
  7. Hammock
  8. Cooler

Extras:

  1. Spouses
  2. Nacho Cheese Doritos
  3. Booze
  4. Beer
  5. Entertainment

We think Tcipip Nut phrased it best when he wrote, “The mindset to unplug, sit back, relax, and enjoy. Don’t forget to look up at night and enjoy the stars show in hopefully dark skies.” Think our Facebook fans missed something? Comment below and let us know!

Huge Trout on a Windy Day

Here at ACK we love supporting our Youth Anglers and getting their point of views. With clear eyes and full hearts these youth anglers provide a fresh view on a passion that all of us have had for many years. Madi Lee, a promising young angler, has been kind enough to provide us with one of her fishing experiences out on the Gulf of Mexico with her father. Read more to see how they fared on a windy day earlier this month.

A Huge Trout on a Windy Day

Excitement rushed through me like an athlete sprinting for the finish line! I got dressed, slapped on some sunscreen, and quickly ran out the door, shutting the truck door behind me as I climbed in. No paddles were going to be used today! Sorry kayaks, the Haynie Cat needs a turn too!

redfish pic

We unloaded the boat and headed across the bay as the sun was slowly creeping through the sky. Waves smashed the boat and salt spray soaked us the entire way. It was extremely rough because the wind was blowing hard.

When we reached our fishing spot dad slowed the boat down, turned it off, and put down the Power-Pole. Both of us put on our waders, slipped on our boots, and grabbed everything that we would need when we were out wade fishing. Then, we slid into the water and made our move to find where the fish were going to be located.

I worked my topwater, moving it left and right across the surface of the water to create the walk-the-dog technique. There was very little bait movement that I saw. Casts were going towards grassy points or any place where there might be fish. My stringer continued to stay empty… But not for very long.

I started working my way towards deeper water, casting in different directions to attract a fish to my lure. A few casts later, my topwater got a major blow up! It looked as if somebody had thrown a bomb in that exact spot. My line was singing to me as the fish continued to run like the wind. Could it be a shark? Is it a big red? Thoughts were spinning inside my head as I continued to fight this fierce fish.

After what seemed like 30 minutes of fighting, I finally got it close enough to where my dad saw what it was. “Wow! That’s a huge trout, Madi!” he shouted as I reeled it in and netted the monster.  I couldn’t believe my eyes. In my hands laid a 28 inch trout!

After my dad was finished taking pictures of me with the fish, I put the beauty on my stringer so she could stay alive. This trout was definitely going back home with me! I continued to fish afterwards, hoping to catch another beast like this one.

Even though I didn’t hook up on another giant, I did catch quite a few redfish as we were on our way back to the boat. I threw my cast towards a reef and shortly after, I received a blow up! This redfish may not have been the biggest, being 24 inches, but at least it was a keeper! I put the red on the stringer right next to my trout. Fish were blowing up my topwater frequently, but unfortunately, the reds were too small to keep.

Madi's 28 inch trout
Madi’s 28 inch trout

After trying one more spot and hooking up on a few smaller reds and trout, we decided to call it a day and head back in. Catching my personal best 28 inch trout was an astonishing experience! I wish I could rewind back to that moment and keep it on replay.

I get to experience things in life like this thanks to God. He has given me the blessing of a loving family, friends, and outstanding sponsors such as Banks Lures, Full Stringer Custom Rods, BendingRodz.com, Rockport Rattlers, Chickenboy Lures, Hook Spit, SaltwaterBoysFishing.com, Saltwater Arsenals, Lew’s Reels, Stinkypants Fishing, Down Time Services, Borderline Yakn, and South Texas Boat Works. They are the reasons I get to do what I love and why I have come so far as a competitive tournament angler.

I would also like to thank everybody for taking the time to read my blogs, watch my videos, and give kind words on things that I post. Please share with everybody, especially younger people, like me, that might be influenced positively from this blog. You can do anything if you put your mind to it, no matter what your age.

Thanks again,

Madi Lee

Youth Tournament Angler

 

 

One Day in the Warehouse

One of your first duties as a newly employed ACK member is to work a day in the warehouse. This is because a new employee needs to know ACK’s products and also because it is important to understand the overall process and how it works. I soon came to find out just how important our warehouse is to the business!

Kayak Shipment at ACK

After a full week of being at ACK my time had come. I was excited because this would be a totally new experience for me. I decided to come in at 6:30am with the early crew and start fresh. The day started the second I walked through the door and didn’t stop until my shift was over.

To kick things off I received a quick walk through of how products are processed throughout the day. It was simple but overwhelming at the same time. Everything is meticulously organized and runs like a well oiled machine. It was like going through an outdoor version of IKEA in that everything is streamlined, has a place, and there is A LOT to take in.

Shortly after this walk through I received my first big task, move a Hobie Pro Angler 14 across the warehouse by myself. Now I don’t know if you know this but a Hobie Pro Angler 14 weighs about 140lbs and the warehouse happens to be huge. First, they let me know there is a science to this process and showed me how to best move this beast across the room. After several attempts I had it down and made my way to the other side of the warehouse.

Sam Moving a Hobie Pro Angler
Moving the Hobie Pro Angler 14

After getting through most of the the morning duties I decided to spend some time in the packaging and shipping area. Initially, I shadowed the guys packaging and shipping kayaks. These guys were fast and took meticulous care to ensure that the product was secure and protected. I watched a few get packaged and shipped and then was able to get my hands dirty. In the time it took me to complete one they easily could have completed three. Because of this I decided to move on to packaging and shipping smaller items. The process they have in place for smaller items is just as efficient and meticulous as the one for larger items. One of the coolest things in my opinion is the fact that every box, piece of plastic, bubble wrap, and other shipping material is always repurposed. Everything is reused and nothing is wasted. We even have an ‘Ugly Box” sticker that goes out with the packages to let our customers know that the box has been repurposed.

After packaging and shipping smaller items I decided to bounce around for the rest of the day helping out wherever I was able to. The warehouse seemed to be in good spirits all day even though the work can be tedious and difficult.

My day in the warehouse gave me a whole new respect for our warehouse employees and the work they do for ACK. They run a tight ship and in my opinion, are the heart of the ACK operations.

-Sam @ ACK

 

Mother’s Day 2014 – Sunshine & Quality Time

Mothers Day Family Outing

Mother’s Day is quickly approaching and if you’re still grasping at straws trying to figure out what to do May 11th (Mother’s Day if you didn’t already know that), look no further. Some of us at ACK came up with a few awesome ideas that will surely have your mother anxiously awaiting work on Monday to partake in the office morning brag fest near the Keurig.

The Camping Trip

Devote your weekend to spending some quality time with your mom under the stars. Camping is a great way to get outside, unplug, and unwind. Pack up your car with all the necessities, a tent, bedding, chairs, a portable grill, s’mores supplies and a Yeti cooler to keep that food safe from bears and sneaky neighbors. Then head out to your nearby camping grounds to enjoy each others company and a fun weekend spent outdoors.

Take A Hike

Being active and outdoors is always a great way to bond with your mom and enjoy some beautiful spring weather. Hiking is another inexpensive option that doesn’t require an army’s worth of effort and delivers great results every time. Check out your local park, pick a trail, pack a lunch, and get outside. Don’t forget to stay hydrated and take the necessary safety precautions

Kimberly out for a paddle with her little friend. beforehand.

Hit The Water

Take your mom out for a day on the water this Mother’s Day. Whether that entails kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, fishing, or just going for a dip; a day in the water is a good day indeed. ACK is currently offering a great deal on Custom Packages – including kayak and SUP packages. Build her something beautiful and keep her smiling from ear to ear.

She’s Not The Outdoorsy Type?

How about setting up a backyard oasis? A lazy Sunday could be the best gift you could give your mom. Set her up with a hammock, sweet tea, good music and some homemade BBQ then sit back and relax. In the end, it’s not always about the gifts you get her, but the time you spend together.

Happy Mothers Day! XO Dayvee @ ACK

ACK Presents: 10 Fun Facts for Earth Day

Earth Bait

Happy Earth Day!

Today is about celebrating the beauty Earth has to offer and realizing that we can all make a difference when it comes to preserving and taking care of the environment we live in. Did you know that the average person generates over 4 pounds of trash every day and about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year? In fact, Americans produced enough trash to circle the Earth 24 times.

To prevent ACK from contributing to all this waste, we’ve implemented streamlined warehouse processes including the  eco-friendly mobile technology and our Ugly Box initiative to re-use old boxes (like Girl Scout cookie boxes!) and greatly reduce the amount of trash that ends up in landfills. We also keep recycling bins throughout the office and encourage all our employees to utilize them when they can. If we all took a little time to reduce, reuse, and recycle the things we use every day we can work in cohesion to keep our world fishing, hiking, kayaking, camping and traveling ready for generations to come. So in honor of Earth Day today I thought I’d share 10 fun facts about this amazing planet we call home.

10 EARTH DAY FACTS

  1. The first Earth Day was April 22nd, 1970
  2. Over 75% of waste is recyclable but Americans only recycle around 30% of it
  3. Earth is the only planet known to support an atmosphere with free oxygen, oceans of liquid water on the surface, and life.
  4. Depending on where you are on Earth, you could be spinning through space at over 1,000 miles per hour
  5. We have 3 deadly lakes: the Nyos, Monoun, and Kivu. All are located in Cameroon, which borders Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Each are crater lakes that release carbon dioxide explosions causing passersby to asphyxiate on the poisonous gas
  6. Oceans cover some 70% of Earth’s surface
  7. Antarctica contains about 70% of the Earth’s fresh water and 90% of its ice
  8. The Great Lakes of North America- Michigan, Huran, Erie, Ontario and Superior-contain 21% of the world’s freshwater supply
  9. The lowest lake in the world is the Dead Sea. It is 1,371 ft below sea level
  10. The highest lake in the world is the crater lake of Ojos del Salado at 20,965 ft above sea level

Now get outside and enjoy some sunshine on this beautiful Earth Day!