Steamboat Springs Hala Gear in the process of purchasing CKS Online | SteamboatToday.com

Hala Gear buys CKS Online as it looks to float new business opportunities

Hala Gear founder Peter Hall, left, is joined by Bobby Kuepper, middle, who is head of operations for CKS Online, and Jimmy Hostetler, who is the head of operations for Hala Gear, at the company’s warehouse on 13th Street. The three men are working together as they blend Hala and the CKS Online store into an operation that will allow both companies to grow. (Photo by John F. Russell)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — When the opportunity to purchase CKS Online, a popular website for paddlers looking to find gear and accessories for their next whitewater adventure, became available over the winter, Hala Gear founder Peter Hall jumped into the water with both feet.

“It’s huge to be able to take over the legacy that is the CKS Online shop,” Hall said. “It was the first online store, besides our own website, that decided to purchase and sell Hala, and so, we have a very long relationship with them as a brand.”

The holding company for Hala is in the process of finalizing the purchase of Colorado Kayak Supply Online, which offers everything that a paddling enthusiast might desire from life jackets, paddles and helmets to kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and rafts. The website has continued to operate during the transition, but Hall said customers may see a few more tweaks and improvements in the coming months.

Colorado Kayak Supply, which started coloradokayak.com, stepped out of the online business, and the CKS Main Street Store in Buena Vista has not been connected to the website for the last five years.

“CKS has been the name in paddlesports for more than 19 years,” Hall said. “The first people I contacted when I went into the business were at CKS in Buena Vista.”

Hall said Hala will continue to sell stand-up paddleboards in Steamboat Springs at Hala Gear Space and online.

“The two businesses, at least from the outsider’s perspective, are going to operate independently,” said Jimmy Hostetler, operations manager for Hala Gear. “The average person should not really notice that we are in the same office. Each company should maintain its independence.”

CKS Online is a huge online retailer and one of the most recognizable names in the business. Hall hopes that buying the company will help him bring in talented people from around the industry, which will also benefit Hala Gear.

“Having the extra infrastructure that allows us to have a broader market to sell to for our Hala Gear Space store just allows that store to actually become profitable or, at least, that is the target,” Hall said.

That expanded market means Hall will be adding to his staff and his warehouse.

Hall has already added one employee and expects to hire three more in the upcoming months. Hala Gear also has leased a new warehouse increasing its storage capacity from 800 square feet to 2,200.

Hall said the synergy between Hala Gear, Hala Gear Space and the new CKS Online website will be key to the success of all three ventures.

He said people in Steamboat ordering online will be able to pick up items at Hala Gear Space, and if they are looking for something in particular, it may simply mean a trip to the warehouse. The added inventory on hand for CKS Online should create an outlet for the Hala Gear Space store on Yampa Street.

“It allows us to take advantage of seasonal risk, drought risk and allows us to have new markets for our products,” Hall said. “Ideally, the combination of the two companies is going to give us the firepower we need to hire a really strong team to support both entities. We are hoping … to really accelerate growth in both businesses in the future.”

To reach John F. Russell, call 970-871-4209, email jrussell@SteamboatPilot.com or follow him on Twitter @Framp1966.


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