What should the role of your local surf shop be?

Discussion in 'All Discussions' started by pinkstink, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. pinkstink

    pinkstink Well-Known Member

    Aug 20, 2012
    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. DawnPatrol321

    DawnPatrol321 Well-Known Member

    Mar 6, 2012
    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. brewengineer

    brewengineer Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2011
    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. Brode

    Brode Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    Hayden is a GSI shape...a pop out if im not mistaken
  5. njsurfer42

    njsurfer42 Well-Known Member

    Nov 9, 2009
    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.
  6. frontsidecrotchgrab

    frontsidecrotchgrab Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2012
    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...
  7. RIer

    RIer Well-Known Member

    Jul 29, 2012
    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.
  8. s.s.shredder

    s.s.shredder Member

    May 27, 2012
    Based on the spot in ure profile picture i have an idea what shop your talking about.. Go to luminate in marshfield if ure looking for a good surf shop experience. the shop is really good and the employees are all super chill
  9. hinmo24t

    hinmo24t Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2012
    xtremelly board? awesome shop, Hoyt is the man??
  10. Brode

    Brode Well-Known Member

    Oct 27, 2011
    I choose to suport my local shop because of his personableness. It goes a long way when your local shop owner is in the shop every day year round, and not only knows you but what boards you ride. That is something that goes a longggg way for me. That is something you just don't see anymore AT ALL.

    I live in Ocean City, MD and we have one shop here that starts with a K. In my opinion its everything I DON'T like in a surf shop. Way to big, way overpriced, and cocky guys working there who all think they are the local kelly slater. It's a complete turn off as soon as you walk in there for me.

    Thats my 2cents
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013
  11. beachbreak

    beachbreak Well-Known Member

    Apr 7, 2008
    Eric at Beach House in Bay Head fulfills all your needs, and Scott and Carol at Natural Art in Hatteras are the ultimate In The Eye.
  12. McLovin

    McLovin Well-Known Member

    Jun 27, 2010
    Pretty much what some of you have already been saying, carry the local shapers' stock boards. I would pay the extra $ to support the local guys, but I've had better luck with boards that are not custom.
  13. LBCrew

    LBCrew Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2009
    A surf shop's role in the community would ideally be...

    As green as possible.

    They carry everything you need... "if we don't have it, you don't need it," kind of thing. Like my local hardware store. They have everything but lumber. (Well, before Sandy they did, anyway.) And that's really easy, because you don't need much. But when you need it, you NEED it. And they should have it, including quality ding repair and wetsuit repair materials.

    They'd ideally carry locally produced boards and have an experienced local shaper in house for customs and to have informed conversations about design and construction with customers. If they carry clothing (and they all do) they should carry clothes from local designers, if there are any. The music should be from the best local bands, and the videos should be as local as possible... the local rippers at the local spots would be cool.

    Which leads to... supporting local artists and artisans.... the guys trying to make it surfing, playing music, designing clothes, shooting film or photos... Sponsoring local kids is key.

    Finally... what all respectable local businesses should do, IMO... doing charitable work. Fundraising, hosting events, sponsoring causes. Not only is it good for the community, it's good for business.
  14. leethestud

    leethestud Well-Known Member

    Aug 12, 2010
    knowledgeable, but also staffed entirely with teenage bikini girls.

    Top quality products, but dirt cheap.

    Mom and Pop, but still stock my favorite $30 bedazzled tee shirts

    On, and a message to the 17th street's with no surfboards, leashes, wax etc... WTF CHUCK!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!!?!!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
  15. staystoked

    staystoked Well-Known Member

    Dec 27, 2009
    The only role of a surf shop should be a physical showroom for my online shopping.....jk put down the pitch forks
  16. zach619

    zach619 Well-Known Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    The role of local shops differs from region to region. In southern CA, the shops all had monopolies on certain product lines etc, so out of 4 shops in my neighborhood, only one shop could carry a certain line, I.E. quiksilver.... So it makes your decision pretty easy as far as who to buy what products from... But on a smaller level, the role that shops should play should be community first. I.E. putting on the groms, getting the local talent the equipment that they need to excel.... #2, supporting local shapers and local products... #3 Bringing value to the consumer.... Even shops that specialize in local shapers etc owe it to their riders and consumers to offer the best quality boards, whether they are mass produced in China etc, or getting a better deal from american soil.... #4 the little things. Making sure that they have the materials and products to keep local waterman and surfers afloat. I.E. resin, glass, supplies for the do-it-yoursleves, which most of us are. If you cant do #4, you are not a surf shop, but simple a retail store....

    In a nutshell, the roles should be consumer first. Unless you have a huge following, you shouldnt be dealing with only local shapes etc... You owe it to the people, no matter how small the community, to get them the most cutting edge products....

    The state of local shops in HHI SC is truly a sad state of affairs... They have NO shops... No local shapers... No local repairs... Just some faom long boards for rent in the summer.... Its a joke... and our local surfing community suffers for it... I certainly have and I have only been here for 5 months.
  17. brewengineer

    brewengineer Well-Known Member

    Jun 22, 2011
    That is sad, and it is also true for half the Charleston shops. Luckily, we have a place like McKevlins. They work with local shapers and the few local garment manufacturers to provide the best for the area. They also sponsor surf and skate teams in the area. I am always happy to give them my money. Unfortunately, they are about a 30 min drive from where I live.
  18. wallysurfr

    wallysurfr Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2007
    Shaping booth in the back with large glass windows. Shaper back there shaping and fixing ding repairs as they come in possibly while you wait. Full assortment of everything you could ever need to fix your board including things like wax paper, tongue depressers etc. so I don't have to go anywhere else.
  19. Stranded in Smithfield

    Stranded in Smithfield Well-Known Member

    Jan 15, 2010
    Plug for board room opening in J-ville this spring... all local everything they can get. Local shapes & shappers...not sure but I hear Rhino, AFG, Flyline, (all smaller guys) and Whisnant (east coast legend). In house shaping... the works.
  20. imharri

    imharri Active Member

    Dec 21, 2012
    Too many Corporations open a shop up and think they can stock a bunch of overpriced board-shorts and T-shirts along with a few surfboards and the surfers will come running. Many of these shops cater to the in-flux of tourists especially here on the East Coast. Its funny to watch ebay around October and see the Asian surfboards that go up for sale from people in Indiana and Ohio...Humm

    Firstly, a surf shop is a business and a business needs to make a profit otherwise it would not be a business. That being said there is lots of ways to make money without whoring yourself out. Its all about the perception the community has about the shop.

    I like to see shops that are out in front of the Community whether its sponsoring or putting events together that attract amateur and professional surfers from outside the area that in turn have a positive economic impact on the local community. Especially important are the events for the community such as participating in events which reach out to those with special needs, get involved in local environmental issues. There is a number of things a shop can do to put them out front making them a positive force in the community.

    The positive force translates to positive cash flow as the local community and those even outside the local community are more likely to come through the door.

    I know it sounds a little preachy, its just my opinion, btw there are shops that market themselves in this manner. They are far more successful than their counterparts, the tourists even recognize what shops are the place to go.