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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Location
    South Shore, MA
    Posts
    177

    What should the role of your local surf shop be?

    So I was reading through another thread about buying locally vs. direct from China/online and it got me thinking about what the role of a surf shop should be. One of my buddies and myself have talked about how the guy who runs our local surf shop is kind of a **** and what we would do differently if we had our own shop. So I was wondering what do you guys think the role of a surf shop should be?

    Obviously it should be a convenient place to grab wax on your way to the beach but outside of the traditional role of purveyor of surf gear and accessories, what kind of role should a surf shop have in the community? Despite having a great selection of overpriced boards and wetsuits, my local surf shop and surf shop owner have a minimal presence in the community. I know he surfs from the pics of Indo on the wall but I've never once seen the dude surf any of the local breaks.

    Just wondering what other peoples experiences/opinions are...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Central FL
    Posts
    3,150
    The role of the local surfshop should be and will always be 100% up to the owner of the shop. It ultimately is their business, their investment, and their time that is put into the shop. So the "role" will be different depending on the owner and what his personal goal is to begin with.

    Most shops are about the same, they carry the same set of boards that most other shops carry, you know what i'm talking about if you've shopped around. Most of them don't push a local shaper or have one in-house that you can work with. The boards you see are either pop-outs from China (and they won't tell you that either) or they are the same "popular" brands that they keep getting year in and year out. Clothing and accessories is where they really make their money, and this is the same at every store, big or small. The selection is very typical no matter the shop, so not much to seperate one shop from another.

    What I'd like to see these shop owners do, is go out on a limb, support a local shaper by making 1/2 of their board inventory from the shaper and the other half from various "popular" companies (not china pop-outs), or take it one step further and have a shaper work in-house. This would benefit the shaper, the shop owner, AND the customer. Those who want to continue buying Lost, Rusty, CI, etc. can continue doing so, but there will be those who will want that personal one on one service of a shaper and will have easy access to one that they didn't know about otherwise. The shaper will be able to educate prospective customers and develop a client base, and every board sold will tie that customer to that shop and any future purchases for things like leashes, fins, wax, wetsuits, shorts, etc., being that shops don't really make much profit on boards to begin with they wouldn't be giving up a whole lot in that department, and the shaper and shop owner can work something out so that neither guy loses no matter what board is purchased. The main point is to keep the customer coming back for everything other than boards and having that personal touch will certainly do that.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Science mother****er
    Posts
    2,092
    In my opinion, the first purpose of a local shop should be to sell good hand shaped boards. If they don't, then they might as well be Walmart. The second purpose should be to provide assistance to anyone needing it. Whether the customer is a 1 yr surfer, all the way to the most seasoned veterans, the shop should be there to answer questions and get them the right gear. We have two shops here that are key players in the surfing community. They sponsor teams, push local shapers, and try to help as much as possible. There are also a couple shops that sell many foreign shaped or pop out boards, and they are run by teens that probably hate everyone that rides a longboard. Which guys would you support?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
    Posts
    1,473
    Surfy Surfy
    I don't know what a surf shop's role in the community should be, but I do know if everyone ran their business like JP does, the world would be a better place. He only buys hand shaped boards and nothing in the store says "Made in China." Everything in there is top quality and tested by surfers. Everyone who works there surfs too. You want an off the rack Hynson, Mandala Hanel, Harv, Campbell Bros, Von Sol, Hayden, Blackbird; go talk to 'em. Plus you can go right next door and get some damn fine coffee coffee.

    Surfy Surfy

  5. #5
    Hayden is a GSI shape...a pop out if im not mistaken

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
    Posts
    1,473
    Quote Originally Posted by Brode View Post
    Hayden is a GSI shape...a pop out if im not mistaken
    I could be wrong about what's in their inventory, I do know they don't sell pop outs. Von Sols are usually epoxy, but the one's at Surfy Surfy are all Polys glassed at Moonlight and custom ordered by JP. The stuff they have is all very unique. I usually just drool over the hynsons and the fryes and walk out with a stick of wax. I don't buy boards or cars new.
    Last edited by zaGaffer; Mar 4, 2013 at 10:25 PM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    in the grace of the most holy FSM
    Posts
    2,781
    Quote Originally Posted by Brode View Post
    Hayden is a GSI shape...a pop out if im not mistaken
    doesn't have to be. you can custom order a hayden from any shop that carries them & even if you want the future flex construction, it can be done domestically. pureglass in ca does the glassing, i believe, for such boards. most shops that carry haydens stock the gsi ones simply b/c it is more economical for them to do so. it's not something you have to settle for, though.

    to the subject at hand, the surfy surfy shop in leucadia is a great example of what i'd like to see in a surf shop here on the east coast. more realistically, i like the way surfers supplies in ocnj is set up...boards up front, right by the entry, clothes & wetsuits in the back or upstairs, not much in the way of gimmicks & gadgets or unnecessary accessories.

  8. #8
    Let me start by saying that I'm not tied in with this shop in any way. I live on the east coast.

    "Real Surf..." in O-side, Ca is the closest I've ever seen to a legitimate local shop. Most all the boards are made right in town by shawn ambrose or some other Socal shapers. With that, they dont sell something for everyone. They have their niche as a non-traditional surfboard shop. Not saying EVERYTHING is local (i.e. wetsuits and some clothing, but thats not a big part of their inventory). The shop doesnt cater to everyone, which is the cost of running a more community minded business, but is highly respected as a humble, local shop.

    Wish there were more like it...

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2012
    Location
    Stayin' Classy in San Diego
    Posts
    1,473
    Quote Originally Posted by frontsidecrotchgrab View Post
    Let me start by saying that I'm not tied in with this shop in any way. I live on the east coast.

    "Real Surf..." in O-side, Ca is the closest I've ever seen to a legitimate local shop. Most all the boards are made right in town by shawn ambrose or some other Socal shapers. With that, they dont sell something for everyone. They have their niche as a non-traditional surfboard shop. Not saying EVERYTHING is local (i.e. wetsuits and some clothing, but thats not a big part of their inventory). The shop doesnt cater to everyone, which is the cost of running a more community minded business, but is highly respected as a humble, local shop.

    Wish there were more like it...
    Thanks for the heads up, I've been drivin by that place for years; but have never gone in. I'll check 'em out. Usually, when I go to O-Side I'm just going for glassblowing, beer brewing stuff or up to Iron Sights. I surf the harbor, the SS of the pier or in front of Seau's every so often; usually during the summer when we get a good South.

  10. #10
    If I was going to open a surf shop, I would try to stay away from anything you could buy cheaper online. Even your generic channel islands, lost, etc boards can be bought and shipped to your home for basically the same cost (once sales tax is included) that you can buy them in a brick and mortor store. I think surf shops are no different from any other mom and pop stores in this respect. I think you need to offer a product that is unique. So, I would try to offer low volume, artisan type products, both surfboards, accessories and clothes. Something that people felt was special and worth paying more for. I think that if you try to compete on price, you will always lose as a small shop. I would try to put the shop in a town near a beach that has a lot of higher end boutiques. Being near the best breaks would not necessarily be the priority. Frankly, the surfing aspect of the shop would be as much about creating a "lifestyle" angle for the clothes and other stuff (sort of like how Patagonia sells way more jackets to random fatsos than to real ice climbers). You would have to walk a fine line between selling products that cater to surfers just enough to make it something more than a Hollister without going totally hardcore and attracting only people who want to buy bars of wax. I think it's probably a really tough business to make work today.