Monday, November 27, 2006

And once, when I went to Kona Headquarters...

By Alex Burgess

A few weeks ago I travelled to Seattle for the fifth round of the US Grand Prix of Cyclocross and decided to make a quick pit stop at Kona Headquarters in Ferndale, WA. Not knowing the trip would take a total 4 hours roundtrip from SeaTac airport, I figured it would be nice to see where our frames come from and the folks taking care of us.

Kona is located on a side highway about 110 miles north of Seattle a few miles off of Puget Sound in a pretty town called Ferndale. The geniuses designing and selling our frames are housed in a non-descript warehouse with a couple of offices and all one needs to throw a fantastic party. There are two stoves, a coffee maker, and espresso maker, fuseball table, pool table, basketball net, ski boat, showers and A LOT OF BIKES!

Entering the front door, one sees years and years of memorabilia from world champions to national champions in many cycling disciplines. One also sees more bumper stickers and anarchist propoganda than one would normally in the average place of business, but hey, it's Kona... A stereo connected to an Ipod pumps out a wide variety of tunes including everything from Dance Hall reggae, funk, folk punk, house and other styles of chemical-infused music.



Dale, Sarah, Ruth and Cory all work the phones in this area and sell Kona products to dealers all across the US. Dale and Cory tried to explain their sales territories to me, but I quickly got confused as they each have states all over the place and certainly someone was enjoying some good Washington micro-brew when the territories were drawn-up.

The Road team swung by the headquarters a few months ago on their way to British Columbia for races and signed one of our jerseys for the entire office. The jersey is located right next to the front door and one can't help but see our glorious colors as soon as one walks through the door. No wonder everyone was smiling!

Just to the right of the front door sits our venerable ally and all around cheerleader/supporter, Mark Peterson. Mark has worked at Kona for almost 11 years and done everything from selling to marketing to shipping to barbecuing, and now heads worldwide team sponsorship. Mark is the guy who approached us a year ago about sponsoring the organization and has been instrumental in encouraging Kona to incorporate our design change requests into their Lisa line of women's bikes. Mark also encouraged Dan and Jake (Co-owners) to include the Velo Bella logo on all 2007 Lisa frames/bikes. Thanks Mark!



At first I was a little taken aback at how small the office was and thought to myself, "this is it?" Well, like Alex in Wonderland (work with me), all I had to do was open a camoflaged door in the back left to see where the rubber meets the road (so to speak).

I have never seen so many bikes in all of my life. Boxes piled three and four high full of frames and components. Stacks of shirts, jerseys, pedals, forks and all manner of cycling gadgetry, the Kona warehouse was impressive to say the least.

Bre, Trevor, Dennis and Ed are the ones who make sure your frames have all the bits and pieces they are supposed to, as well as sending you all the items you've ordered from Kona. They are in the process of bringing the warehouse into the 21st century with a new barcoding, scanning and inventory management system and I found them hard at work drinking coffee and preparing to prepare to move boxes from end of the great hall to the other. Ed was a little shy, but Bre, Trevor and Dennis were kind enough to pose for this photo.

All in all, my visit to Kona was fantastic. I really enjoyed meeting Ruth (who I speak to all the time on the phone) and Cory (who is responsible for much of the midwest including my local Kona dealer), as well as the rest of the team there. Definitely a happy group who clearly love creating and selling bikes. Not a bad gig! The drive back to Seattle along the coast helped me understand why they love living here so much. Breath taking...

Thanks everyone! We love our Kona bikes and hope to see you all at some races soon...

2 Comments:

At 6:49 AM, Blogger Denise said...

Great write up....thanks for passing that along.

 
At 10:35 AM, Blogger Miss Mary said...

thanks for sharing this with us!!!

 

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