Who is MACkite Boardsports?
Located in Grand Haven on the shore of Lake Michigan is a group of the friendliest folks you could hope to share your passion for boardsports with. Our crew, by and large, are people who found their way to us because they were already experts and wanted to share their knowledge with others and make sure customers got the right gear for their style. Or maybe they just wanted to test ride the latest and greatest gear. (Yeah, there are perks to working at MACkite.)
It's true that MACkite started life as a kite shop. How do you get from kite shop to boardsports? One step at a time, as it turns out. Traction kiting, or power kiting, has long been a passion of the more adventurous stunt kite pilots. Our own Steve has been known to grab a powerful foil and zip around the beach in a low, three-wheeled kite buggy. So when kiteboarding started to spread in the late 90's, it was only natural that he'd bring one of these powerful kites in, "just to try". In no time at all, local surfer James Otis had rigged one of his old boards with straps and borrowed the kite to become the area's first kiteboarder.
That was pretty cool, so Steve brought in more kites plus some boards and dedicated a back corner of his downtown shop to kiteboarding. A few landboards joined the mix for those who wanted to stay dry while kiting. When the snow fell, snowboards appeared and everyone just kept on riding the now frozen lakes all winter long. When the snow melted but the water was still cold, the guys went back to the landboards. On windless days they simply rode them down the hilly Grand Haven streets.
"You know, Steve, we should really bring in some skateboards and longboards. Those would be better for the streets." Sure, made sense, so skate shipments arrived. Then the lake warmed up but the guys still needed something to do on the water when there was no wind.
"Steve, you should see what they're doing in Hawaii. It's called Stand Up Paddleboarding and it looks like so much fun!" And so it was. Even people who'd never stood on a board before bought paddleboards, one for each person in the family. It was relaxing and pretty much the opposite of kiteboarding, but MACkite had always been "Where FUN Begins!" and so they fit right in.
Well, FIT might not be quite the right word. That back corner of the kite shop had expanded to nearly half the store, trying to squeeze in all the board-y goodness. Steve was starting to get a lot of "the look" from his wife Lynn, who was running the rest of the shop in an ever-shrinking space. So he did what any sensible guy would do and moved out. (From the shop, that is.)
Steve found just the right space across town. With a showroom in the front and a Quonset hut for a warehouse in back, it was a pretty sweet setup. The crew lost no time in filling the new store.
"Steve, these longboards are great, but have you seen the battery-powered ones? We could totally commute to work on those! And coffee runs will take half the time!" It was hard to argue with such bulletproof logic, and soon the crew was zipping between the two shops, paperwork in one hand and mocha in the other. Sometimes they'd mix it up and take an electric bike instead. (That's right; the future of transportation is NOW at MACkite.)
When the guys weren't adding new product lines, they were expanding the brand selection. Wherever a kiteboarder's brand loyalty lay, they could find it well-represented at MACkite. Then one day Tucker came in from the warehouse and asked Steve where he wanted him to put the latest shipment. That was a strange question from Tucker, who had a system for keeping the warehouse organized, so Steve stepped out into the warehouse with him. It was full.
It was a lot of work moving into a larger warehouse and showroom just south of town, but with winter on the way, the guys used the extra room to add ski equipment. Okay, it wasn't a board and it certainly wasn't a kite, but they already had snowboards, so... why not? Steve marveled at the powerful logic his crew possessed as he browsed his own selection. It'd been a while since he'd gotten himself new skis and the local slopes were open.
What's next for the MACkite Boardsports Center?
The enthusiasm the crew has for anything fun and active knows no bounds, so it's almost impossible to say. But rumor has it Jake M's been seen riding a unicycle to work, and hey, we do have electric bikes already, so it's probably just a matter of time before someone connects the dots.