So, while the recent plague's been spreading around, we as BFOD are an essential business- we maintain and repair essential vehicles- bikes! So we've remained pretty busy. We are a little lax now on masks, but for the last few months it was masks o'clock for all of us. We still recommend the elderly, sick, and immune compromised remain wearing masks when visiting our store or renting our bikes/boats.
Boats: We've got them, and never enough: this last half of the month has been utter madness as we've been selling out of stock on all our kayaks. So much so that I haven't had time to update this blog to talk about it because I keep getting interrupted with phone calls asking about our boats, when they'll show up, and what's in the truck. For more timely updates, I recommend following us on Facebook- we will definitely update you there on what's coming in.
That said, we've been taking pre-orders on Feel Free, Vibe, and Native boats, but this month we are also picking up the brand Vanhunk's, which is kind of similar to Vibe's boats in 8 to 12 foot fishing kayaks with comparable features. We like Vibe, so we naturally also like Vanhunks, and getting you guys boats that aren't $2k and up. We expect a large order next week for both Vibe and Vanhunks, almost 100 boats altogether, so we'll see how this goes. It's going to be mad, and a virtual feeding frenzy, but people need kayaks and we're the place to go get them, so it's gotta be done!
One final note on shipping: We get it- kayaks are hard to come by, everywhere. COVID has slowed supply lanes, while also creating cash to burn that would have gone to movies, restaurants, and vacation, so everyone's angling for a boat. So we've been getting calls from out of state, way out of state, like Oregon, New York, and Washington state asking us if we'd ship out one of our kayaks to them.
While normally we have no qualms meeting customer demands, shipping Kayaks isn't as simple or as easy as shipping bikes -(bikeflights.com)- because kayaks are heavy, oversized and fragile for their size. They often come in a wonky shape that makes it hard to pack them in a truck ecnomically with other shipments. Most freight services that ship such large products require them to have extra packing, shipment insurance, and etc before they are even allowed on the truck, and even our most generous rate is between 83 cents to a dollar per mile for terminal to terminal delivery, with greater expense for residential drop off. This means that the average kayak shipment is over $300.
Several customers have been dismayed or surprised because Vibe and Feel Free have sold directly on their website for $75, or another boat dealer has sold them the boat for similar. In some cases, this is actually dealers drop-shipping kayaks directly from the manufacturer- if the manufacturer doesn't have the boat, the dealer won't offer to ship. Most manufactures make up for the cost of shipping by selling in bulk- Vibe and Feel Free may also have dedicated fleets or negotiated rates by maintaining a high volume of deliveries, making each shipment cost effective. Most manufacturers that ship directly cover a large percentage of the shipping cost- Vibe says so as much on their website.
This is not something we as a smaller kayak shop can handle, and so we must ask all customers outside of our local area to pay full shipping costs via our freight service. At the moment do not have the sales volume to undercut the cost of shipping or to press for a negotiated rate with our freight company. It's also costly to us because each shipment will require extra labor from our staff to properly pack and prepare a kayak for shipping, labor that is already tied up in bike repair, rental services, and helping people find the right stuff in our shop.
We're considering hiring a guy to just haul kayaks from our shop in a small trailer, but that would only be to the adjacent states of Tennessee, Alabama, the Carolinas.
This is just an FYI, and those who are still interested we are still wiling to ship, but only if you're willing to pay the $300+ shipping fee. Otherwise, you might be better suited to waiting for your local kayak dealer to come back in stock.
For the folks that have been driving from the far end of Alabama to pick up a boat from our store, we salute you! Why not stop by Park Place for a bite to eat or rent a bike to ride through the Battlefield while you're here?