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With so many great JK Preferred Dealers across North America it is not easy to pick the dealer of the year. This past year, however, CKS earned our Preferred Dealer of the year award. The combination of customer satisfaction, events for paddlers at their shop (like the up-coming Paddlefest), great packages on Classic series boats, and a well trained, long time staff, added to the fact that in 2007 they were the highest volume JK dealer made the decision easier.
Each of our 80 North American dealers are a special part of the JK team. We don’t have dealers we aren’t proud of. We’ll tell you about our 2007 Super Store of the year next! Meanwhile here is a history of CKS and the CKS store as told by Earl!
CKS, Colorado Kayak Supply, is a full service kayak retailer based out of the historic town of Buena Vista, on the Arkansas River. They are owned by four long time paddle sports industry professionals and are operated by the nation’s top notch sales staff. Every CKS employee is passionate about water sports and the river industry. CKS is focused year round on kayaking sales and does not venture into other areas of outdoor retail like skis or bikes. They are boaters selling boating gear to other boaters year round period.
From this commitment and expertise, they have been able to achieve many awards in the paddle sports industry, including Canoe and Kayak’s Retailer of the Year in 2005 and 2007. It is also no mystery why they have been Jackson Kayaks’ top retailer in 2006 and 2007. CKS knows the industry and knows what boats is the best for every individual paddler. Below is a little history on how they have made it to where they are today.
CKS was established in 1978 by Jim Stohlquist just down the road from their current location. Back in the day Jim hand crafted ‘Needle Rigs” to a new generation of paddlers that were anxious and willing to tackle the 100 miles of whitewater adjacent to the shop. As his soft goods business grew and new competitive kayaking manufacturers of kayaks like Perception began to emerged, Jim stopped making his kayaks and focused on his gear brand Stohlquist Waterwear. By the year 2000, Stohlquist was ready to focus on manufacturing and was willing to sell the independent retail business of CKS to a new crew of shop owners. And the rest is history.
Eight years later, CKS has grown a lot and we have learned a lot. We moved up the road to be adjacent to the new Buena Vista Whitewater Park and in closer proximity to some very classic runs like the Narrows, Fractions,Number, and Pine Creek. The moved has proven to be very successful and has allowed CKS to bring events likePaddle Fest and the BV Pro Rodeo to our town. They were one of the first paddle sports retailers to offer e commerce services and the nation’s only whitewater specific color catalog.
CKS carries every top brand of boats and gear available today. We can be selective in supporting and promoting brands that are the best for our industry, supply us with the great customer service, and keep our company healthy and moving forward. Jackson Kayak is one of those brands we are proud to represent. It is nice to see how strong the demand has become for this manufacturer of kayaks. CKS is able to assist each individual customer and inquiry related to Jackson Kayak with a boat from Jackson Kayak. It is great to have a brand that is as in depth and versatile as Jackson. Now, our days are easier as a retailer to get the customer out the door and on the water with products they can count on and trust.

See you in Buena Vista and on the water.

The CKS Crew.