Business

Come fly like the wind

Whidbey is known for windy days and a store in Oak Harbor now offers a way to enjoy them.

Mariah Kites Windsports and Hobbies is open for business in the building at the corner of Whidbey Avenue and Midway Boulevard.

The store, which is owned by Glen Kehl and June Piotrowicz, offers a wide selection of single-line, dual-line and quad-line kites ranging in price from $4 to $440.

In addition to the kites, Mariah, which is what they call the wind according to the song, offers wind toys, spinners, banners and flags.

“We’ve got something for everybody,” June Piorowicz said.

Kehl said he can special order larger kites, which can be up to 20-feet long, for interested customers.

In addition to the assortment of wind-related toys, they are also selling puzzles and models. They plan to start selling model rockets in the next couple of weeks.

Kehl had been selling kites out of a trailer for the past two-and-a-half years. Originally from Stockton, Calif. he traveled to various shows and festivals on the West Coast. The last festival he attended was on South Whidbey Island after he opened his store, which caused a problem. To stock the trailer he had to remove all the kites from his store.

Now, he’s concentrating on building the business at his store. That way he can acquire enough stock so he can also sell at festivals and special events without clearing out his store.

“Eventually what I hope to do is get enough stock so I don’t have to strip the store to sell,” Kehl said.

The couple moved to the Oak Harbor area in June 2005 and they opened their store the following September.

While the store is located on the corner of a major intersection of town, Mariah Kites Windsports and Hobbies doesn’t face the street. The main entrance is located behind the building. To help direct customers to the entrance, there’s a sign in front of a garage door facing the parking lot directing people to the entrance. Kites and banners outside draw attention to the new store.

Even though the garage door faces the parking lot, it can’t be used as an entry into his business, Kehl said. While not ideal, he says of the location it was affordable and he’s making the best of it.

Mariah Kites Windsports and Hobbies is open Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 240-8601 or on the Internet at www.mariahkites.com.

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