Chris Hackerd, VP of Store Operations and one of three ACK co-owners, is an avid mountain biker, birder, ‘yak angler and all around outdoors-man. Recently, Chris traveled east to North Carolina to celebrate his grand mother’s 80th birthday and took the opportunity to visit many of the manufacturers based out of the area including Confluence, Legacy, Werner, Eno, Astral & Feel Free/Pyrahna. Below is part two of his trip. See part one here.
Dinner with Werner & A Day At Legacy
I had dinner with Danny Mongo of Werner later that night and he got me up to date on the paddling scene in Asheville. I had no clue when I was spending all my time at my Grandma’s house that I was directly in the heart of what seemed like the paddling center of the universe. Whitewater, Sup, Rec and Fishing all close at hand. The sheer number of kayaks on the roofs of cars was shocking.
My next stop was Legacy paddle sports at their new location as they’ve moved from Greenville, SC to Asheville in the last few months. It certainly had that unfinished look to it but was busting at the seems with potential and innovation. My first stop was RD where I got to take a look at some new color combinations they were working on…pretty sweet looking.
Mike Hooks walked me out onto the floor and it was beautiful! More American workers, sewing, molding and building kayaks and accessories. A couple of dogs were playfully fighting over a chew toy in the corner. Everyone greeted Mike with a smile and seemed happy to be at work which is a great way to keep product quality high in my mind.
The process of molding the kayaks here was very similar to what I saw in Easly, SC. It was fun trying to figure out what mold fit which boat without looking. I got to talk and feel the molds up close and ask questions about how they worked. When I was younger I worked for a plastic injection mold builder for the auto industry. Some of the principals were similar but this was totally different. The injection process has the plastic shot into it while the roto-mold method has carefully measured out tubs of colored resin. This is such a neat experience.
Next up, Chris spends the day at Eno…