Snow in summer maybe?

I'm always a bit surprised when we get so many orders during the summer months for Ski Racks. Here's a letter we got today from a guy (president of a risk management consulting firm) who was able to ski 26 times last season. I feel lucky if I can fit in a half dozen!

Aurther writes:

I had a record number of days skiing this year (26), most were powder days.  Hope you and your family got your fair share of skiing in this season as well.

Montana Rockies got almost a foot of snow on Labor day so already thinking about skiing - no better way to keep it up front than to get my skies on the wall and look at them every day as I head to work (why I work).

The Talic version of Customer Service

An email from a customer showed up to say: 

Hi Jeannie, I purchased your Talic Kayak Condo (Single) storage rack. I have not opened the package I received. What is your return policy?  I don't think I want to get into kayaking after all.  Thanks, Tom

Oh, I couldn’t leave that alone.  Not try kayaking?  I love kayaking!!

Jeannie:  You can certainly return the Kayak Condo. 

Just curious, why aren’t you going to give kayaking a try?  It can be  whatever you want it to be!  Some love the thrill of the white water (not me!), some like to explore down twisting, gentle rivers (fun!!) and many just relax on the water.  That’s me most of the time. I live too far from the Adirondacks to kayak like I would like, but we do have a Finger Lake right here. Sometimes after a long day at work, my husband and I make that extra effort to get the boats on the car, drive to the lake, and get out onto the water. Being on the water, paddling slowly, relaxes me. And the ice cream after always tastes so good.

But it’s not for everyone.  Do what makes you happy!!

Tom:  Thanks for the quick and inquiring response. Why don't I give kayaking a try? Jeannie, my response is that I'm not quite sure I want to spend a lot of money on a new sport that I might not be capable of handling, enjoyably, as I age. I'll be turning to age 69 this year and I want to be in a sport that my body can handle as I age. Correct me if I'm wrong, but kayaking seems to be a sport for younger, more able-bodied people. I'm in great physical and mental shape at the moment. Just don't know how long that would last. I notice how tennis players a bit older than me have slowed down on the courts. Plus, I have enough else to to do keep me satisfied. I have tennis, biking, a gym membership, am trying to learn Spanish, and will be going on a London vacation in September. 

Jeannie:  Wow!  You’re running circles around me Tom, and I’m 59! Tennis, biking, working out?  That’s all really high-energy activity! You better take up kayaking just to rest :)

You are wrong though, kayaking is not just for the young and able-bodied. That’s why I really like it.  Anyone can do it, at just about any age, even at 69, and beyond. ;)

I tried to get our local school to add it to the Phys. Ed program. The high school is right on the Owasco Outlet, just a few paddle strokes from the Owasco Lake. Kayaking is great because it doesn’t have to cost a lot, you can do it alone or with friends, and you can continue to paddle as you age. Not so with football! But, you know high schools and their football. How many 50 and 60 and 70 year olds are out there playing football?  

I would suggest you try out some boats. Be wary of the big flat kayaks they sell at Dicks, BJ’s, and the like. They may look fun to start out with it - stable too. But they are so wide, it takes too much work just to keep the dumb things going straight! You can get a really stable boat that still paddles and tacks nicely through the water. Another thing to consider is how heavy the boat is. If you had to lift the boat yourself onto the top of your car, how much can you lift, now and in the future? They make some really light kayaks, the one that comes to mind is SlipStream. One model is only 10 pounds!

I didn’t learn to paddle until I was 50, and I still consider myself a novice.  I really don’t get out there that often. I do enjoy it when I do, and therefore encourage everyone to give it a try. My motto is choose something, anything, that makes you happy inside. Just live!! :) Sounds like you do!!

It was nice talking with you - keep active, enjoy life! :) If you have a free moment, try kayaking. :)

Tom:  Hello Jeannie,

I'm pleased to report that you, the organizer for Twin Cities' Paddlers, and my first on-the-water experience in a kayak today persuaded me to take the plunge and purchase a kayak. I bought a Perception Carolina 12 after getting back from the lake. So, I won't be returning your company's kayak storage rack after all, and you can tell your boss that you are partly responsible for encouraging me to rethink whether I should try kayaking. I hope you get a promotion.

I am excited. When making my decision, I kept thinking about what you told me, my experience on the water, and that Wes, the organizer for Twin Cities Paddlers, told me that you only live once. Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing your thoughts on kayaking with me.  

Jeannie:  I don’t know Wes, but I couldn’t agree with him more!! Life is for living - so very happy for you :)

by Jeanne Tucker

Looking back to see our future.

Two things happened that have affected the way Talic is going to operate going forward.

 1. We went to Spain.

 2. I read a book.

If you have read our history, you know that Tim started Talic in his garage. He needed to store his three kayaks, and his prototype turned out so well, he wanted to share it with others with the same need.

Tim comes from a family of helpers. His parents were involved in the community bringing help to anyone who needed a hand - a warm meal, a warm coat, a warm hug. So it was natural for Tim to want to share his solution for boat storage with others.

As the business grew, he was approached by many retail stores who saw a good thing, and wanted a piece of the pie. Tim was flattered! What a great way to get his racks to more people!  So he worked harder and longer, and cranked out more racks. But working harder and longer wasn’t as fulfilling as working directly with the customer. You become just another piece of the machinery. You don’t have time to think outside the box, to tweak that one thing that would help out a customer with his special need.

And then we went to Spain.

As we walked the many narrow, winding streets, we talked - struggling with the language and using many hand gestures! - with the shop owners. We met artisans who created their work, and sold it, direct to the customer. This is what it’s supposed to be! Making something with your own hands, helping another with a need. When we came home, we looked at our hometown with fresh eyes. Empty store fronts where Mom and Pop shops have gone under due to the arrival of Wal-Mart, a Mall gasping with it’s last dying breath, an excess of Dollar Stores. People somewhere (China?) cranking the machines, working longer and harder to get the product out.  

We’ve all heard “Work to live, don’t live to work” or some variation there of. And although we have always believed that, we were no longer following it. We fell victim to the rat race - more Kayak Tilts, more SeaHorses. Work faster, faster. We need more!

And then I read a book.  

God Never Blinks by Regina Brett to be exact. I am an avid reader, and this book really spoke to my soul. Basically, it reaffirmed to me that it’s ok to step back from the rat race, to just do what makes you happy, that you are ok just the way you are, right where you are. It’s all about quality of life, about what - at the end of the day - makes you happy and feel right within your world.

For us, it’s connecting with that customer who needs a paddle rack to hold that special paddle her son used to win the Hawaiian Canoe Paddle. For getting the Bike Rack to the restaurant to hold their vintage bicycle in time for their Grand Opening. For making the boat racks for the custom boat house in Wisconsin, picking the grain and color of wood to complement their new wood walls.

We don’t need to make millions, we don’t need to be in the Fortune 500. After the basics of shelter and food, we need what everyone needs - to be helpful, to be happy, to be loved.

Going back to our beliefs, working to bring the best we can make to you, the customer, does that for us. Quality of life.  Ahhhh...

by Jeanne Tucker

Talic, Inc.
7 Bellnier Lane
Auburn, NY   13021
www.talic.com

¡Vamos a España!

Translation... We're off to Spain!

Opportunities present themselves, but it’s up to us to take them. Take Spain, for example. And we did!!  

As I’ve said, my bucket list dream is to see - really see - the 50 states. So vacation plans don’t have me looking at travel across the big pond. However, my youngest son has been in Spain since the beginning of January, doing a semester abroad. He says, “Why don’t you come visit me Mom?” He can’t be serious. I haven’t been to California, or Washington, or Texas. What about Montana?

Then I had to have some surgery. Sitting at home, recuperating one night, I was just peeking online at flights, you know, not really planning on going, but well... And there it was, the flight of a lifetime.  I checked our reward points, and OMG!! We could fly round trip to Spain for NextTo. Nothing! Opportunity presenting itself. We took it!!

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What a great time. Speaking essentially no useful amount of Spanish, it was great to be met by our son at the Madrid airport. We were thankful to have Nick as our tour guide for the first few days, and then we were on our own. What an adventure! We walked all over Madrid, and took the Metro system too, which was so easy to use. The Palacio Real de Madrid, Reina Sofía National Art Museum, the Prado, Puerto del Sol. Mercado de San Miguel, sangrias, paella. We took the bus on day trips - Segovia, Toledo, Ávila. Gradually we picked up necessary Spanish words - no hablo Español, salida, and most importantly, aseo por favor. And it was fun, like being on a treasure hunt, listening for a word in a conversation that you might understand.

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Segovia, Tim’s favorite, is famous for it’s 1st century Roman aqueduct. Like nothing we have ever seen before, this granite block aqueduct is truly an architectural masterpiece. (The US wasn’t even the US until 17 centuries later!) We walked to the end of it, which is a tiny fraction of its original 14 kilometer length. We just had to see how the water ran through the trough. The Alcazar of Segovia, built in 1122, was massive. How did they build these places? While dining on suckling pig in the Plaza de Mayor, we were witnesses to a wedding complete with authentic Spanish dancing.  

Toledo was my favorite. Having never been to Europe, I was like a kid in a maze wandering through the narrow winding streets. Toledo is the “City of the Three Cultures.”  Muslims, Jews and Christians have all lived here, side by side. Nice.

The Cathedral of Toledo was stunning! Spain really knows how to do it’s churches!

Ávila is home of the Walls of Ávila, begun in 1090 AD. The best preserved walls in all of Europe and you can walk on them. We walked where Romans walked! Ávila is also the birthplace of Teresa de Ávila, a Roman Catholic Saint.

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We met Nick’s host mother, Puri, and she invited us to dinner. Nick had to translate for us, Puri doesn’t speak English. She made great Spanish dishes, including a chicken stew. She and Nick had a great laugh when I asked for more polla por favor! Soon it was time to say adiós. We shared hugs, an American Mother and an Español Madré.  

Opportunities present themselves daily.  Which one will you answer, and what adventures await you?  

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It's been said that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.

While surfing through the web the other day, an image caught Tim’s eye. It was a picture of his Woodlands Series - the first ever, all wood, modular wall-mounted storage system. Who put this picture up? he thought. Upon closer inspection, the truth was exposed - it was an imposter.

Talic’s Woodlands Series was designed by Tim - it’s his ideas and sketches brought to
life to aesthetically display your belongings - from boats to skis to fishing rods, bikes, books and clothing, well, you get the idea. Pretty much everything. Beautiful hardwood Ash rails, strong and superior Baltic Birch accessories. Look up the word "wood" in the dictionary, it may as well have a picture of Talic products beside it.

Epic Outdoor Adventures opens in 2012.

The first Woodlands Series was installed in an outdoor retail shop in Fayetteville, NY back in early 2012. Tim worked closely with the owner, creating the look and feel desired. The finished shop was beautiful. And because we love to share what we use ourselves, we offered it to the world. The Woodlands have gone to homes all across America, and across the big pond too.

In November 2015, the Talic Woodlands Series went to Marc W. of California. Marc W. then copied Tim’s designs, created a website in 2016, and is now currently advertising a storage system he took from us.  

I suppose we should be flattered - this “founder” comes “from a high adventure sports background." And he chose to copy us?! Woo Hoo!! Meh, not impressed.

Where's the patent?

The point is, Tim designed this system, they are his ideas. No, it isn’t patented. It’s very expensive and time consuming to patent products. We would spend a good chunk of our profits, and hours of our time, to obtain one patent. We know, we’ve done it before. So, we chose not to patent the Woodlands Series.

If Marc saw our system, admired it, and decided to create something of his own that was similar for his own personal use, kudos to him! Then I AM really flattered! But, Marc W. did not create the system - he stole it, and then he marketed it as his own. For someone to pawn off someone else’s creation as his own is low and unethical.

Original and still customizable.

The Talic Woodlands Series was the first, remains the original, and will continue to be the best all-wood modular storage system for all of your needs. Check us out at www.talic.com. If you have a need we haven’t covered yet, let us know, we may be able to help. 

It's a perfect day for kayaking!

The weather sure is crazy - yesterday morning it was 50º, last night it was 18º. Right now the yards are covered with snow and it looks like winter is going to hang on. We don’t need that stupid little woodchuck to tell us so. But, the sun is shining, and I’m choosing to think ahead to summer and paddling here in the Finger Lakes.

Christmas Day was good.

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A few years back for Christmas, Tim brought me to the window that faces our backyard, and opened the curtains. Surprise!! My very own, brand new, shiny red, fiberglass kayak! I have a boat!!  There it sat, smiling in the snow on Talic SeaHorses, just begging to be put in the water. And that’s just what we did! On Christmas Day, we took our boats out for a short paddle on Skaneateles Lake. I was ecstatic! I have a new boat!! The people in the village and on shore were not.  Kids sledding down the hills stopped to stare, and one woman stood on shore and watched us until we came back. I’m sure she had 911 dialed into her phone, ready to push the button. My paddle sliced through the arctic water and the bow of my new boat split the waves, each splashing - and immediately freezing into thin sheets of ice - on the deck. When we returned home, my boat was gently laid back on the SeaHorses - perfectly cushioned, “floating” still.  Perfect day, perfect storage.

Creating the perfect system

Are you familiar with the Talic SeaHorse?  Tim designed these over 15 years ago.  He holds a US Patent on the design. We make them ourselves - from the cutting of the anodized aluminum to the finished product.

The SeaHorse is a great, versatile product.  Weighing in at under 5 pounds for a pair, you can take them with you wherever you paddle.  No more setting your prized kayak (like my new shiny red one!) on a rocky beach, asphalt, etc.  Unfold the SeaHorse - instant, tender cradling.  And sturdy!  They can easily support weights up to 100 lbs, and the legs adjust to the ground.

We have the airplane-grade aluminum made to our specifications and then anodized at a company in North Carolina. Once it is shipped to us, we begin by cutting the tubes into specific lengths and drill the holes. All of this is done on a one-of-a-kind custom pneumatic jig that Tim also designed and created. Next step - sanding and deburring the tubes on another custom jig. It’s amazing to me how many steps need to be taken before the finished product is ready! Really makes me look at and appreciate other crafted products. The SeaHorse truly is custom made. Nothing is outsourced overseas. When we say Made in America, we mean really Made in America.

The Seahorse ‘legs’ are now rolled into the assembly room to be flared and labeled with our Talic Patent number.  Finally, Tim begins assembling each one - you guessed it! - on another custom jig.  This is American ingenuity at its best.  You could easily be standing in a shop of 100 years ago - you have an idea, you create a jig, and just like our forefathers, you produce a product to take care of a need.  

The SeaHorse is bagged (bags cut and sealed on yup! another jig) and ready for shipping.  We make them in two sizes - 21”, perfect for storage, and the 31”, great for working on your boat.  My favorite is the 31” - like the ones holding my new shiny red kayak :)

Taking it on the road

I was lucky enough to be able to participate in Canoecopia in Madison, Wisconsin, last year.  The largest PaddleFest of its kind, it’s an amazing experience.  And was I ever surprised when I walked into the main showroom, which is HUGE!, and saw Talic SeaHorses all over the place!  Boat manufacturers of all kinds of kayaks were using the Talic SeaHorses to showcase their boats.  As the masses wandered the Coliseum and admired the boats, I stood silently back and admired the SeaHorses.  I smiled.  

Some 15 years ago, Tim had an idea.  He designed and created the first ever kayak stand.  And here I was, at the largest paddle show in the world, standing amongst them. Talic SeaHorses.  The American dream is alive and well.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Only 6 days until Christmas, but for me, it’s only 4!  Friday, December 23rd, is my extended family’s Christmas party.  We expect about 53 at our home this year. 

With that many people, it’s hard to pick the best day for the gathering.  This year, I have one son coming home from college, and another son and family moving back to our hometown from Virginia on the 22nd. So I thought, how about a Holiday Party after Christmas, between Christmas and the New Year? Sounds good!  Except, I soon learned that there were conflicts with other family members.

As everyone has their own family plans on Christmas Eve, my only option was December 23rd.  And that was just two weeks away.   Can I pull this off?  Decorate, shop, finish projects, bake and work, all in two weeks?  Eeek!  When I asked Tim his thoughts, he replied, “Sure you can.  You’ll rise to the occasion.”  While I admit I do work best under pressure, this seemed a daunting task, even for the Queen of late nights and zombie days.

And here I am, Monday, December 19.  And guess what?  I am rising!  Groceries are bought, menu planned.  Most projects completed, some to be finished on the drive to pick up the college son.  The house is decorated, except for the tree, which will get done tonight (now that I found the tree lights!)  The cards have been mailed, baking is scheduled for Thursday and Friday.

And on Friday evening, my family will join us for Christmas.  We’ll eat, share stories and laughter.  Give gifts to the kids. Maybe sing a few songs.  And all too soon, they’ll be gone.  I’ll sit in my chair and reflect, and think Phew!  That was a lot of work!  Was it worth it?  Absolutely.

The Holiday Season isn’t about presents (good thing!  Wait ‘til the boys see what I didn’t get them lol).  It’s about sharing, it’s about love.  

Reach out to a loved one, and do just that.  Love them.

Merry Christmas.  I hope you have peace and love in your heart.  (A good cookie is a bonus :)

Black Friday Shopper-holic Finds Solace.

I admit it, I love a bargain.  My name is Jeannie, and I am a Black Friday shopper.  

Well, I used to be.  It used to be you could really find a bargain, and to be honest, for me, it was more about the energy I felt, the chase and the conquer.   Four young boys at home, and I was up at 5 am, searching for that coveted item.  It was just as much fun passing a Cabbage Patch Doll over heads for someone down the aisle as it was finding Buzz Lightyear.  But the boys grew, and material things meant less and less - to all of us.  Sure, they still wish for things, but why get a new flat screen TV just because it’s on sale when the old box still works?  I guess I’m not a good consumer, not for the sake of consuming, anyway.

We really think about our purchases, we repurpose, we swap back and forth within the extended family.  Just last week we picked up a treadmill from our niece.  She no longer had a need for it; we think we’ll use it.  

So here’s a suggestion.  Nov 25th, the day after Thanksgiving, BLACK FRIDAY, stay home!  Gather everyone together, eat leftovers, get a jump on baking Christmas cookies.  Maybe actually freeze some this year.  Play games - Pitch is a new favorite in our house.  Or bring out the board games - Pictionary, Monopoly.  Oh go ahead, bring out some of those cookies you just baked.  :)

As the years go by, when the family gathers, what will they remember more - the times you got together and played games while eating their favorite cookies, or that green comforter you got on sale?