Gill began as a specialist clothing designer/manufacturer for dinghy sailing in the '70s and has evolved into one of the top players in the Marine Industry outfitting thousands. David Pritchard, President of Gill North America, has known Kyle since the start and kindly takes some time to reflect on APS's 20 years of growth.
1. What was your impression of Kyle during the first 10 years of APS?
Gill always believed in Kyle and his vision . I wanted to help him from the get go. He reminded me of me. Young man getting started in the marine market following his passion and heart. We speak the same language.
2. From your perspective, how do you think APS has influenced performance sailing in the US? In the world?
In the early days APS was playing catch up. Kyle kept his eye on the UK retailers and learned a lot from them.
In my opinion, APS really started to blossom as the internet came of age. Kyle and his team understood how best to leverage the local product assortment nationally and then internationally. Over time APS connected most of the one design dots and became a one stop shop. Good people on the team, the right assortments and information on line - APS helped spark the one design community. APS is a title sponsor giving back what it has reaped in part.
3. How does APS stand out as a retailer of Gill products?
APS is an authority. When APS speaks, the customer listens. The staff care and are enthusiasts themselves. They have fun along the way. It’s the people and the platform. APS represents Gill well in all the channels. When we train on the new product line, we always have very well attended training sessions. APS [staff] understands the Gill offering and share what they know with the customer well.
APS is one of our top retailers
4. What has been a high point for you when dealing with APS?
Seeing an entrepreneur work his vision, persevering, and ultimately realizing the goal. Witnessing the company grow. Working together on different projects along the way and making it happen. Collaborating.
5. What success has Gill shared with APS?
Influence and Impact. Serving Gill customers with excellence.
6. Why did you select APS as an avenue through which you would bring your products to market?
One design is a root market for Gill so from the beginning it was a good fit. It’s our heritage just like APS - One Design Sailing .
7. What five words would you use to describe APS?
Out to win the race!
Almost every sailor out there has had some relationship with Gill. Even if you've never bought a piece of their gear outright (though, that thought is shocking!) - we're sure something in your sail kit has been influenced by Gill's innovation. In fact, Gill is responsible for 2 piece (top & bottom sets) dinghy systems - yes, you have them to thank for not having to step in and out of full suits every time you sail! Here is some of our favorite Gill gear:
Latest and Greatest
The Race Waterproof line. This breathable and fully waterproof gear is as light as it gets - the jacket being roughly 15% lighter than any other available. Check out the ash color that is new as of late summer:
Being a favorite of many a dinghy/small keel boat sailor, Gill's One Design boot is everywhere! With grip and comfort like this, we're not surprised.
Gill will be in booth #69 at the Annapolis Boat Show in just two weeks. If you have plans to be in town, stop by to see Gill's latest and greatest first hand! If you can't make it, you won't be left out. For 1 week during the show, you'll get 15% off all Gill gear. Click here for details.