Join the Organization Dedicated to Uniting and Protecting Specialty Retailers

Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

Advance Your Company Through Connections and Information Exchange

Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

Stay Current on the Latest Industry News and Consumer Trends

Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

“BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion (from Surf Expo Connect – Sept. 2020), other relevant videos from the BRA YouTube Channel and more”

Board Retailers Association organizes and expresses the views and concerns of independent board specialty retailers to industry associations, major trade show organizations and others in an effort to help promote our industry, support the board sports specialty retailers and protect our Lifestyle. BRA Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion (Surf Expo Connect – Sept. 2020) View board sport specialty retailers from around the United States speak about how they are managing these challenging times, the resources they have leaned on and new opportunities that lie ahead. This remarkable Retailer Roundtable Panel Discussion initially aired at the Surf Expo Connect virtual tradeshow on September 17, 2020 Host: George Leichtweis, BRA Chairman and Owner of Modern Skate & Surf (Royal Oak, MI) Panelists: Ferguson Herivaux, One Gig (Boston, MA) Coco Tihayni, Surf Diva (La Jolla, CA) D. Nachnani, Coastal Edge (Virginia Beach, VA) Paul Erickson, Management One Tune in with Doug Works from Board Retailers Association – PropagandaHQ.net interview by Vipe Desai This is a video of an interview conducted on September 28, 2020 by Vipe Desai of PropagandaHQ.net with Doug Works (Executive Director of the Board Retailers Association), who shared updates with Vipe on what the organization is doing to help its retail members as well as insights as to how retailers are managing during the pandemic. Be sure to visit PropagandaHQ.net to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly. BRA Webinar: Reopening Your Store – The Things That You Are Not Yet Thinking About (Dan Jablons,RSG) Special Educational Webinar hosted by Board Retailers Association and presented by Dan Jablons of Retail Smart Guys on May 21, 2020 and now available... read more

“Torey Pudwill and Chris Haslam | LARVIKITE LINES” via Transworld Skateboarding

Click to view this remarkable story. When the opportunity arose to visit Lundhs Real Stone quarry and create a permanent Larvikite skatepark for the town’s skate scene, Torey Pudwill, Chris Haslam and Angelo Caro flew in to link up with local pro Deedz and session the 300 million-year-old terrain in situ – before bringing it all down from the mountain quarry to create a permanent skate space in Larvik itself. Thanks to Transworld Skateboarding for being such a great resource. Be sure to click on and bookmark the following link for relevant news, intelligent articles and ripping skateboarding:  https://skateboarding.transworld.net/ If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“BRA To Offer Retail Members Exclusive Healthcare Insurance Coverage” via Press Release

By Board Retail Association | Originally published on Nov 4, 2020. Updated on Nov 25, 2020 LIG Solutions announces a partnership with the Board Retailers Association to offer its Distinguished Retail Members, their families and their employees access to exclusive healthcare insurance coverages. Healthcare is not a one size fits all endeavor, and neither is the insurance coverages offered through LIG Solutions. The exclusive offerings include a full suite of medical, dental, vision and disability coverages, as well as the new “Health Reimbursement Arrangements” (HRAs) for employers/employees. This program also includes access to information on the latest healthcare, personal wellness, and lifestyle trends. “We want to provide access to quality healthcare products that fit the specific needs of the Board Retailers Association Distinguished Retail Members,” says Jason Farro, CEO of LIG Solutions. “The plans can be tailored to fit the individual needs of members, their families, and employees that off the shelf programs may not be able to provide.” The health insurance coverage offered through LIG utilizes plan options from many of the leading national carriers, and the program is designed to be a vehicle to promote healthier lifestyle choices and preventive care options for the organization’s membership. “This is a relevant and valuable resource for all of our Distinguished Retail Members throughout the country.  LIG Solutions offers affordable and comprehensive health plans that our retailers and their employees can use today!” says Doug Works,  BRA Executive Director. Coverages are offered concierge style to BRA Distinguished Retail Members in a centralized portal, thus eliminating the hassle and cutting through the confusion that often accompanies shopping for healthcare insurance. The offerings – which are culled... read more

“JENK TV: CONSTRUCTING A SKATEBOARD OUT OF SODA BOXES” by IAN MICHNA & ROB FRAEBEL via Jenkem Mag

Welcome back to Jenk TV! For this episode, we tried to get DIY with it and build our own skateboard deck out of trash scraps. Our intern Bechara was inspired by the ongoing hardgoods shortage and wanted to see if he could make a deck out of “alternative” materials, as a sort of doomsday prep in case this pandemic continues to halt skateboard production or we chop down all the maple trees in existence. Seven plies, a couple presses, glue, and a saw seem pretty easy to come by, so we did some laps around the neighborhood to find some materials to make this deck out of. Bechara figured with all the drinking that’s been going on during lockdown, cardboard boxes of beer would be plentiful and really easy to work with. He threw in a layer cut out from a plastic kiddie pool to see if it would add any pop or elasticity, and veneered that all together to make the deck. Did we just start the hottest new sustainable skate brand? You’ll have to watch to find out. Filmed by: Ian MichnaEdited by: Rob FraebelShare this with a scientist on FacebookReport this as pathetic on Instagram and Twitter If you like fun and intelligent skateboarding related articles, be sure to bookmark: Jenkem Mag If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

” The Inertia Wetsuit Guide 2020″ by staff via The Inertia

Editor’s Note: The 2020 Wetsuit Guide is powered by our featured partners. The air is getting cold. So is the water. The difference between good and bad rubber is about to get real. It’s the difference between pain and comfort. The suits featured in The Inertia’s Wetsuit Guide 2020 are the best of the best – guaranteed to keep you in the water longer, more comfortably, to make the sometimes-unwelcoming task of winter surfing that much more palatable. Feel free to scroll through the selection of suits above, or, for your convenience, we’ve listed them out below as well. Keep warm this winter. Wear good rubber. The warranty “covers anything that appears to have failed under normal use, such as a blown seam, failed power seam seal or broken zipper. Warranty items are always repaired free of charge.” Photo: Amee Longpré Patagonia Men’s R2 Yulex Front Zip Wetsuit Patagonia’s Yulex® wetsuits have exclusive linings for increased stretch. The only Fair Trade Certified™ suits, they’re made with 85% Yulex® natural rubber/15% synthetic rubber by polymer content; natural rubber is FSC® certified by the Rainforest Alliance. The R2 gets the job done. Best for water 55°–60° F/13°–16° C. Read our review of the Patagonia  Men’s R4 Front-Zip Hooded Wetsuit. Body Glove Men’s Red Cell Front Zip Wetsuit Body Glove’s top-of-the-line fullsuit features proprietary Red Cell infrared interior insulation, which converts your body heat into infrared waves that channels warmth back to your core. Ergonomic panel construction married with the stitch-free Micro-Bead exterior seam seal creates a true fit with minimal restriction to movement. Additionally, the Evo-Dry exterior jersey is hydrophobic to resist water absorption, minimizing weight, and keeping... read more

“What If We Told You That You Could Protect Your New Surfboard Against Breaks And Dings…” via STAB Magazine

Well, you can. And it starts at just $10 a month.  Posted by: STAB What’s worse: breaking your new board first session, or watching every person you love getting mauled by a voracious pack of lions? Answer: the lions, but only just. New Board Anxiety is a serious medical condition that affects millions of surfers worldwide. If you or any surfer you know has suffered from this debilitating ailment, we present you with a viable (if only marginally costly) solution: Surfcare.  First and foremost, and despite how that intro read, this is not an advertisement. Or, I guess technically it is, but the crew at Surfcare didn’t pay a penny for it, so good on them for creating a product so inherently fascinating that we couldn’t help but write about it.  Second, Surfcare is exactly what it sounds like: AppleCare for your surfboard. It’s actual, genuine, real-life protection that you can buy as financial protection against a dinged or broken board.  Here are their available plans: Below we chatted with Nick Stolz, founder of Surfcare, to get more info on his product and see if the juice is truly worth the squeeze.  What inspired you to start this company? Well, I grew up breaking a ton of boards! Maybe I took that “stomp it” saying a little too literally [laughs]. I came up with the idea in Indonesia three years ago after running through a quiver at HTs. It’s a bad feeling when you spend a bunch of money on a new board and break it first session, or even at all. We all know the feeling. So Surfcare was... read more

BRA Covid-19 Retailer Resource Guide (strategies, webinars, loans and more) – published: Mar. 23, 2020 / last updated: Nov. 20, 2020

Welcome to the BRA COVID-19 Resource Guide. Below you will find resources for the benefit of all board specialty retailers (BRA Retail Members and non-members alike) during this challenging period. The Board Retailers Association is actively aggregating resources to assist you in navigating these uncharted waters. We update this page with additional resources daily. If you are interested in contributing relevant information or helpful resources that will benefit other board specialty retailers, please email our Executive Director at doug@boardretailers.org Relevant and trustworthy online resources providing facts related to transmission of Covid-19 (Corona Virus) and strategies to battle the spread #spreadthestokenotthevirus Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Official Website Flatten The Curve – Everything you and your customers need to know to battle COVID-19 is on this website World Health Organization – Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak This epic and relevant drawing was created by Reddit User Darth Voter Relevant educational webinars (on-demand) > Crystal Media – 3 Tips To Get Started With Social Selling Today and Staying Top-of-Mind and Connected to Customers During a Pandemic > Management One – 1) “The Retailer’s Guide to the Economic Stimulus Package & Financial Options to Address COVID-19” – The CARES Act is a complex mix of government aid and bank loans each with their own timelines and requirements. The parameters and regulations for these loans is changing hourly! 2) With rent being one of the highest monthly expenses for brick and mortar retail businesses, it’s a good idea to approach the subject of temporarily altering the structure of your agreement – The Art of Landlord Negotiation to Ease the Highest... read more

“Adidas and Nike Trim Wholesale and Skate Shops Object” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

Please click on the following link to view this Shop Eat Surf News Article:   Adidas and Nike Trim Wholesale and Skate Shops Object Please note that this article is a Shop Eat Surf Executive Edition article so you will need to sign up and pay for access before viewing. We, at BRA,  feel that the benefits of the SES Executive Edition Membership outweigh the cost. Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“VF snaps up Supreme for $2.1B, eyes brick-and-mortar expansion” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: VF Corp. on Monday said it has a deal to acquire streetwear brand Supreme for $2.1 billion, expected to close later this year, according to an investor presentation. Supreme founder James Jebbia and the brand’s senior leadership team will stay with the company, which will remain headquartered in New York City, according to a company press release.VF expects Supreme to contribute at least $500 million in revenue in its next fiscal year and be “modestly accretive” this fiscal year. Dive Insight: Since it opened in the mid-’90s as a skateboarding shop in New York City, Supreme has vaulted into cult status among young consumers worldwide. The brand has carefully guarded its price points and desirability through small weekly drops and intense online engagement. Soon it will join a conglomerate. VF executives Monday morning took pains to say that they’re aware that Supreme’s healthy popularity and margins depend on a scarcity model and that they wouldn’t be meddling in the Supreme team’s approach. But they also said that VF’s scale could help drive a compound annual growth rate of between 8% and 10%, and that Supreme could eventually become a billion dollar brand, at least. Stores are also scarce at Supreme, which only runs 12 globally. The brand has been especially a hit in the U.S. and Japan, and executives said they see potential in China and elsewhere in Asia more broadly. VF CEO Steve Rendle called the brick-and-mortar store “the ultimate expression of the brand” and said that that under VF, new Supreme locations will open “where the Supreme followers and lovers exist.”​ Indeed, despite the steep price VF stands to gain from Supreme’s enduring... read more

“TAMPA AM PRESENTS: GLOBAL AMDEMIC ” via link on Skatepark of Tampa website

Watch the Global AMdemic Finals featuring the top Ams from over 500 entries from around the world, battling it out for Tampa Am spots, bragging rights and a $1,000 cash prize. Plus Independent Best Trick with feedback from judges Kelly Hart, Kelvin Hoefler, and Mike Sinclair. Hosted by Andrew Cannon and Paul Zitzer at (BRA Distinguished Retail Member) Skatepark of Tampa. If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“SHACC Launches Educational Resources and Digital Tour” by Glenn Brumage via info from SHACC Newsletter

For all those surf shops, educators and parents out there looking to enrich the lives of customers, students and children, the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC) in San Clemente, CA is proud to be able to support you with the newly launched Educational Resources section of their website. From plastic pollution to the pursuit of equality in the water, they have 12 new lesson plans that are up online and available for free. Check them out via the following link: SHACC Educational Resources Their doors have been closed for the last few months due to health and safety concerns, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still take a deep dive into the history, heritage and culture of surfing. Thanks to Google, they’ve got a digital tour available so you can enjoy all the classic surfboards, artifacts and memorabilia. We’ll be looking to open our doors again after the holidays, so stay tuned for upcoming developments.  Here is the link: SHACC Digital Tour We, at Board Retailers Association, love the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (SHACC). We absolutely appreciate Glenn Brumage and the entire staff for everything that they do to preserve the remarkable culture and history of Surfing and to promote surf shops. BRA would like to sincerely thank Glenn and the epic staff at Surfing Heritage and Culture Center for hosting the BRA Retailer Roundtable Event in November 2019 as well as each of the Supporting Event Partners including Solite Boots, Exchange Collective, Locally, Action Watch and Sambazon. Board specialty retailers from throughout Southern California and beyond as well as board sport related manufacturers and trade organizations participated... read more

“Report confirms outdoor recreation is crucial to national and state economies” by Andrew Weaver via SNEWS

The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis released its annual report that lays out the importance of the outdoor recreation economy in hard data. The numbers are in.  The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) came out with its annual report today dissecting the importance of the outdoor economy across the nation. Officially an analysis of the agency’s Outdoor Recreation Satellite Account, which measures “economic activity as well as the sales or receipts generated by outdoor recreational activities” across the country, the report laid out in clear terms just how crucial outdoor recreation remains to state economies from coast to coast. Across the board, the upshot was positive. The BEA’s report found that outdoor recreation contributed to the economies of all 50 states and accounted for 2.1 percent ($459.8 billion) of current-dollar gross domestic product and $788 billion in gross output (consumer spending) in 2019. According to a recap of the study published this morning by the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable, it is likely these figures will be even higher for 2020, given the rise in outdoor participation during the pandemic. Read more: New data shows the outdoor industry heading in the right direction Lise Aangeenbrug, executive director of OIA, said after the release of the data, “The report published today proves that together, we are a force. The industry is a vital component of national, state, and local economies, as well as an important catalyst to America’s economic recovery.” Here’s what we learned from the numbers. States that benefited most from the outdoor economy The states that saw the highest value-add from outdoor recreation as a percentage of state GDP were clustered in the Intermountain West and the Northeast, with several key outliers... read more

“3 Ways to Keep Inventory Fresh and Improve Sell-Through” by Emily Fanning of Heartland Retail

Board retailers, even more so than other specialty stores, tend to have extremely loyal client bases. It’s a blessing, with a small spritz of a curse: the more often they come in, the more “same old” they see. So with your best customers visiting multiple times a season, engaging them with fresh and stimulating products and experiences carries a lot of weight. High sales are great, sure, but high sell-through and margin are two inventory performance metrics that are most telling of the health of your business—and the satisfaction of your customers. Let’s back up: What is sell-through? Sell‐through = units sold / initial units received x 100 Or, a percentage that compares the amount of inventory a retailer receives against what is actually sold within a specific time period. If your reports are showing a low sell‐through—say, less than 30% over 3-4 weeks*—on certain items, brands or even full categories, then it’s time to take action to move the merchandise before it becomes even less fresh. When product is slow, retailers often resort to markdowns as the default mechanism, but doing so means your margin will take a hit. Yet when your point of sale doubles as your inventory management system, its reporting can provide intel that will allow you to push under‐performing products through other techniques. We’d wager there isn’t a single retailer out there who hasn’t made a handful of poor buying decisions, so here are a few tactics that the savvy ones use when such happens. *You may have different optimal selling periods for different categories or even store locations—more on determining these benchmarks later!... read more

“The puzzle of inventory during the pandemic” by Andrew Weaver via SNEWS

2020 has been a year of supreme uncertainly for specialty retail. Empty shelves, cancelled orders, and lopsided demand have forced shop owners to get creative to meet customers’ needs. Here’s what several retail owners say about the challenges they’ve faced. “If there’s any pattern to all this, it’s to expect delays. Which categories, brands, or products—that’s anybody’s guess. It’s best to just assume everything will be delayed and end up pleasantly surprised if it’s not.” That’s Eastside Sports owner Todd Vogel’s take on the state of inventory challenges at this point in the pandemic, nearly eight months in. “If there’s a delay, you pivot. Delay, pivot,” said Vogel, whose shop is based in Bishop, California. “That strategy has kept us going. It’s all about flexibility.” It’s no secret that sellers of outdoor goods have been scrambling this year, trying to keep pace with a retail landscape strained by supply chain disruptions, rapid shutdowns, unpredictable demand, and other hardships. Still, one way or another, many retailers are finding ways to keep their shelves stocked—to some degree—and customers happy.  To figure out what retailers are seeing on the ground level, and how they’re coping, we got in touch with several shop owners and buyers to ask about what’s going right, what’s going wrong, and how everyone is bracing for the upcoming season. What’s causing problems To start things off, we wanted to know about specific pain points. In some sense, we were looking for a pattern, but that exercise quickly proved futile. After speaking with shop owners in several different states, the moral of the story seems to be that there’s no rhyme or reason... read more

“Skate & Create, Street Edition, Coming This November” via Transworld Skateboarding

Transworld Skateboarding is proud to announce the return of Skate & Create, Street Edition, coming this November. Four teams. Four original concepts. One month in the streets. Skate & Create 2020 Promo Transworld Skateboarding is proud to announce the return of Skate & Create, Street Edition, coming this Friday. Live premiere at 3pm PST. Four teams. Four original concepts. One month in the streets. Videos from Birdhouse, Thank You, Visual, and Meow. And a huge thanks to Red Bull Skate for their continued support in making this contest a reality this year. Thanks to Transworld Skateboarding for being such a great resource. Be sure to click on and bookmark the following link for relevant news, intelligent articles and ripping skateboarding:  https://skateboarding.transworld.net/ If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Surf Expo to Hold In-Person Show in January” via Surf Expo PR on Shop Eat Surf

PRESS RELEASES | Published Nov 2, 2020 Surf Expo, the premier watersports and beach lifestyle tradeshow announce today that their upcoming January 6-8, 2021 show will take place in the West Concourse of the Orange County Convention Center, a shift from the North/South Hall where the show has been held previously. Roy Turner, Surf Expo Show Director and SVP said, “Our top priority is to reunite the industry together safely. Our team is committed to creating an experience where we can safely and effectively conduct business.” The West Concourse will provide space for social distancing plus multiple entry and exit points to the show floor, a more favorable floorplan, and easier move in and move out for exhibitors.  At around 120,000 net square feet, the reduced footprint will allow for approximately 420 exhibitors with increased aisle space for distancing. While attendance is expected to decrease somewhat due to travel restrictions and store closures, the overwhelming response from retailers is that they need inventory, and want an in-person show.   Retailers from all across the US and Caribbean are registered to attend including Hi Tech Surf Sports from Maui, HI, Sun Diego from Carlsbad CA, K-Coast Surf Shop, Ocean City MD, Archie’s Surf Shop in Ontario, CA, Coastal Edge from VA Beach, Red Sail Sports in Aruba and Grand Cayman. Allyson Catanzaro, Buyer and Boutique Manager at La Playa Beach and Golf Resort in Naples, Florida said, “I am looking forward to attending Surf Expo to see vendors in person and to be able to touch and feel product. Zoom calls have worked, but it doesn’t replace the in-person contact.” Jim Archibald, owner of Archie’s Surf Shop in Ontario, Canada added, “Surf Expo has been hugely instrumental in our success. Archies wouldn’t be the same without it.  We haven’t missed a winter show in 30 years. I don’t want to break... read more

“Postmates looks to solve local retail’s last mile” by Tom Ryan of Retail Wire

Postmates, the Uber-owned on-demand delivery platform, has introduced a new service supporting the last-mile needs of local retailers. Under the program, Shop, local retailers create a virtual storefront on Postmates’ app, where they’ll be able to showcase their inventory with organized, configurable catalogs that feature high resolution images. Postmates will provide the retailer with a tablet to manage available inventory. Customers get access to a variety of options for getting their orders, including home delivery and in-store or curbside pickup. Delivery and service fees range from $4.99 for standard delivery to $12.99 for priority. Unlimited subscribers receive free delivery. Mike Buckley, who recently joined Postmates as SVP of business to guide the effort, told Glossy that Shop is designed to help local retailers meet heightened expectations for speedy online delivery created by Amazon Prime as well as to alleviate expected pressures from major carriers around shipping constraints this holiday season. “Our intuition is that there’s going to be a lot of interest in beauty, personal care, home goods, apparel and more frequently [shopped categories], like flowers and hardware,” he said. “We’re trying to create a fun, curated shopping experience.” Mr. Buckley, formerly VP, digital commerce operations & new business models at Nike, also expects the service to support flash sales, exclusive “drops” and other limited-time campaigns. “We think we can drive engagement to these merchants and create calls to action,” he told TechCrunch. The move enables Postmates, acquired by Uber in July for $2.65 billion, to expand further beyond its core food-delivery offering and positions the platform as an online marketplace for mobile shoppers. Shop’s introduction starts in Los Angeles with nearly 50 retailers, including... read more

“10 Easy Ways to get Customer Reviews that Boost Retail Sales” by Bob Phibbs, The Retail Doctor

Customer reviews are very influential and can increase your sales more than marketing with a paid ad but can be hard to get. Here’s 10 proven tips to get customers to review your business online. There’s nothing shoppers consider buying without asking a friend, reading a review, or searching an app. Since most purchases start online these days, reviews act as a surrogate for a brick and mortar employee who could build trust. The other day I asked a buddy how his purchase of LED lightbulbs worked out. He replied, “You don’t think I would’ve tried them without first checking the reviews, do you? All 5-star.” A ZenDesk research report noted that 88% of customers have been influenced by an online customer review when making a buying decision. Yet many retailers and service providers, when I suggest they call or follow-up with their customers, tell me they are afraid they’ll get a negative review so they don’t do it. They figure the only people who will write reviews of their business or products will be people who want to share a bad experience. ZenDesk affirmed this by noting that 95% share bad experiences.  But here’s the thing…they also noted 87% shared good experiences – that’s pretty close. And more importantly, they also noted that more people have read a positive review (69%) of customer service online than negative reviews (63%.) And I’m not naive enough to think any reader of this post hasn’t looked at an Amazon review before purchasing something – regardless of cost. When you see 50 five-star reviews of a product, you tend to trust…and I bet you buy it. So you know product... read more

“Retail how-to: 5 tips for battling showroomers” by Carolyn Webber via SNEWS

Sure, price-shopping consumers can save a few dollars by buying from big e-tailing sites, but brick and mortar specialty shops can do more to capture those sales and create a long-term, loyal customers in the process. When you see a customer price-shopping in your store, make a move to engage them and steal back the sale. // Photo: Carolyn Webber IT HAPPENS PRACTICALLY EVERY DAY IN OUTDOOR SHOPS AROUND THE COUNTRY. A customer walks into the store and heads over to the pack wall. He tries a bunch on, finds the perfect fit, the ideal size, and the feature set that he likes. He may or may not be casually surfing on his phone throughout the process. Regardless, he offers a quick “thank you!” then boogies on home to make the purchase online, where he saves a few bucks. It’s called “showrooming,” and it’s become a dirty word in the world of brick and mortar retailers. Mark Swindel, store manager of REI’s Salt Lake City location, says it happens far more than he’d like. Nowadays, everyone has product information at their fingertips, and apps such as ShopSavvy and PriceGrabber make comparison shopping even easier. Swindel and other retail managers find it hard to fight against the competitive prices of the “Amazons of the world.” But there are ways to combat showrooming, and bring those transactions back into your shop. #1 Train your retail employees.Human interaction is something you can’t get online, even if there is an open chatroom. Bob Phibbs, CEO of Retail Doctor, a retail consulting firm, attributes showrooming to less retail assistants on the floor and a... read more

“A Very Unequal Recovery: The New Face of Retail Darwinism” (plus links to relevant M1 webinars) by Marc Weiss – CEO, Management One

Initially, the outcome was unexpected. But as summer turned into fall, and as fall moves into holiday, we now know with certainty that Indie retailers are experiencing a very unequal recovery. At Management One, we have been tracking data by location every day since March 12th. (see chart below) The results have stayed constant and reflect a very strong K-shaped reality. The top 20% are seeing retail bliss, the bottom 20% are experiencing a retail slump, and the middle 60% are either moving up the K slope or fighting to keep from sliding down. There are a variety of factors that affect results, including location, vertical, and a retailer’s demographic makeup. It is true some retailers were fortunate to be in resort locations where affluent populations fled over the summer, or were already well positioned in their digital e-commerce, social media, and communication, or are happily in verticals that flourished during Covid-19 like Outdoor and Pet Supply. However, there is also a strong collection of retailers that welcomed the opportunities that appeared, and they embraced change. Some from that group are enjoying gains, as they rest comfortably in the upper slopes of the “K.”  Cash is strong, inventories are in great shape, and they are exploring other opportunities to expand, where previous doors were closed. On the down slope, there is a struggle to find growth and a return to some normalcy. Recovery has been weaker and slower than expected. Less flexible landlords, abandoned communities, a client base that is slow to come back, challenges to adapt to a virtual world, supply disruptions, and stiffer responses from other creditors... read more

“CSEF Is Bridging Skateboarding and Higher Education” interview via Malakye.com

Keegan Guizard literally skated through college. He was an inspired student at North Carolina State University who founded a collegiate skate tour and then shortly after college he co-founded The College Skateboarding Educational Foundation (CSEF) with Thomas Barker and Neftalie Williams, who’ve both been involved in the skate industry for a long time. CSEF connects skateboarding and higher education and is a great way to help young skaters see a bright future through skating without having to turn pro. Check out this interview with Keegan, a video that explains a lot, and learn how to get involved. Learn about applying for a CSEF scholarship here.Learn how to donate and get involved here.What inspired you to create The College Skateboarding Educational Foundation (CSEF)? When I was in school at North Carolina State University, we had a Skateboarding Club that hosted local contest events for charity and went on school-funded road trips. We had so much fun. As part of an entrepreneurship course, I started Collegiate Skate Tour, a national contest series for college students (we had a division for non-students too). That was an opportunity to keep doing events and traveling post-graduation. After I moved to Los Angeles in 2015, I met Thomas Barker and Neftalie Williams who I co-founded CSEF with. I wanted other skaters to know how much fun skating in college can be and to be able to potentially set themselves up for a better life after skating. The organization stands for so much more, but that’s a narrative that I experienced as a skateboarder that went to college. What’s the breakdown of what it took to get from idea... read more

“Put Your “Retail Puzzle” Together” by Tom Schrepferman

Have you ever worked a 10,000 piece puzzle? Imagine all of those pieces spread out on your table. Where do you start? How do you start? You probably have these questions about how to thrive coming out of the COVID-19 retail challenges. Here’s how we recommend you start: Invest in e-Commerce: We expect e-Commerce growth trends to extend well past COVID-19.Control Inventory: Regularly review sales performance and inventory on-hand reports daily, weekly, and monthly to understand what inventory is moving.Reward Loyal Customers: Use frequent buyer incentives to support customers who support you. You can’t snap all the pieces of your business together at-once, but you could start here. The truth is there are many strategies to working puzzles, but the most important step is that you have to start. Marveling at all of the pieces won’t snap them together. BTW, the pro tip is to make sure all puzzle pieces are face up, sort them by color, and set aside the edges or corners. Reach out to book a demo with RICS and see how we can help! Tom Schrepferman RICS Software VP, Sales tom@ricssoftware.com 317-275-5941 BRA note: We are very pleased to mention that RICS Software is a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner who is currently offering fifty percent (50%) off all on-boarding fees and fifty percent (50%) monthly fees for the first twelve (12) months as well as a deferral of payments until 2021 for all BRA Distinguished Retail Members. Be sure to mention BRA when connecting with Tom and the solid people behind this outstanding resource. – Doug Works, Executive Director BRA If you are not yet... read more

“Cooper talks to Tony Hawk about life in quarantine” interview by Anderson Cooper via CNN

Anderson Cooper talks to Tony Hawk about life in quarantine – CNN Video Anderson Cooper speaks to skateboarding legend Tony Hawk about life during the coronavirus pandemic. Watch “Full Circle” every Monday, Tuesday and Friday at 6pm E.T. www.cnn.com https://www.cnn.com/videos/us/2020/10/16/acfc-tony-hawk-you-and-your-quarantine-full-episode-vpx.cnn If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Prime Day vs Election Day” by Dan Pankratz (Co-Founder of the Exchange Collective) via Building The Revolution

With Covid now in its 8th month and what could be Americas most debated presidential elections less than a month away, we are now faced with another decision that can change life as we know It.—- PRIME DAY. You might think voting for a Career Politician, a Businessman, or Rap Star will help fix our country’s economic and social welfare. Think again. Some Americans celebrate spending money on mass-produced products from a multi-billion dollar company where the average warehouse employee could not even purchase 1 share of their company stock with a full month’s paycheck. How you spend your money on Prime day does more than get you a discount on crap you don’t need. It also effects the community you live in.  It is no secret that when a business can offer more convenience and better pricing we feel like we are getting the best deal. But what if that convenience and pricing are really costing you and your family more than you think.  For every $1 you spend by entering the digits of your credit card to have your hard-earned money securely zip through space into that multi-billion dollar corporations bank account, less than 20% off that money will ever end up circulating back into your community. When that same $1 is spent in a business with a physical location that percentage can double. If that business owner lives in that town up to 80% of that money can stay in your community.  Convenience and pricing are for toilet paper and deodorant. But if you are going to buy a new vacuum for your wife, or a new... read more

“The Black Surfing Association is Empowering Black Youth in Rockaway -PADDLING OUT FOR RACIAL JUSTICE AND EQUALITY WITH NEW YORK’S LOU HARRIS” by Owen James Burke via Surfer Magazine (from the final issue)

This feature originally appeared in SURFER Volume 61, Number 3. Since that issue’s release, due to the impact of the pandemic on SURFER’s business, the staff has been furloughed indefinitely and all content production has been paused. Hopefully SURFER will one day return, in some form, but in the meantime please enjoy this feature from the final issue. In April of 2014, Lou Harris, a surfer and resident of Rockaway—an oceanfront community in the New York City borough of Queens—read a news article about a 16-year-old boy who’d been arrested after setting fire to a mattress in his apartment in neighboring Coney Island. When the cops asked the kid why he started the fire, they reported that he said it was because he was bored. Harris couldn’t bear the thought of kids in his community growing up with so little engagement—and in a place with waves, no less. To Harris, the answer was obvious—he’d introduce local youth to the thing he loved so much. He’d get them surfing. Harris, who is now 48 years old, was born in Queens and grew up in Dix Hills, Long Island. He moved to the Rockaways in 2006, where he began teaching himself to surf to help come to terms with hanging up his skateboard in his late 30s. Soon enough, Harris crossed paths with Brian “B.J.” James, a dedicated Rockaway Beach surfer and among the few Black wave riders you’d have found in that lineup in the 1990s—despite the neighborhood’s population being roughly 35 percent Black. Author of “The Nautical Negro”, a memoir about his life as a Black waterman, B.J. showed... read more

“Skate Shop Day” happens on Feb. 19th – Letter from Chris Neiratko of NJ, FAQs & more

We are re-posting the following information (FAQs and more) about Skate Shop Day with the following letter from NJ Skate Shop Owner, BRA Distinguished Retail Member and co-founder of Skate Shop Day, Chris Nieratko addressed to skate brands: Hello new and old friends, Chris Nieratko here. You might know me from some of the previous hats I’ve worn over the past 25 in years in skateboarding, or maybe you don’t. Either way, there is no hat that I wear with more pride than my NJ Skateshop hat. 2021 marks NJ’s 18th anniversary (cue Skid Row’s 18 and Life…) and in that time, like most skateshops, my partner, Steve Lenardo, and I have seen unbelievable highs and crazy lows. We’ve survived a recession, Hurricane Sandy, CoViD as well as emotional personal and industry losses and yet somehow we live to fight another day. It is my love for not only my own shop but for all shops, especially those that opened their doors to me and my friends on tours throughout the years, that led me to start Skateshop Day this past February 19th with my friend, Scotty Coats. Skateshops have always been the cornerstone of skate communities around the globe. Skateshop Day is meant to be the time when the skateboarding community celebrates our cultural hubs. The foundations of every skate scene. The places that bring skaters together and act as the glue for skateboarding as we know it. Skateshop Day is meant to get skaters IN to the shops, to show love to the unsung heroes that do so much for skating all year round; the men and women that float you a bearing, throw in free grip,... read more

“How Can Surfcare Help My Surf Shop?” via BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Surfcare

Surfcare brochures on display at Rip Curl San Clemente. Shop employees share Surfcare with every perspective customer buying a new board. Surfcare’s Surfboard Protection Plans Can Help Your Board Shop Increase Sales & Customer Loyalty  Customers want to feel secure when they make a big purchase. This is true in pretty much every market and the surfboard industry is no different. Buying a new surfboard can feel like a major life decision. And whether they’re a beginner or veteran, board purchasers want to feel like they aren’t going to regret it the second they get their first ding.  Surfcare QR Code stickers on new boards for sale at Rip Curl San Clemente. These QR Codes link to Surfcare’s website and let Surfcare know every time a Rip Curl Customer visits the site. It’s not uncommon to see surf shops providing an exchange window or limited-warranty with board purchases. Still, their customers generally know the drill. Those narrow offerings barely scratch the surface when it comes to true product protection.  Sure, the customer can always bring their board back in for repair. They’ll just have to pay for it entirely out of pocket. This additional expense later down the road can potentially worsen their relationship with your business. It also ultimately leads to less board purchases from customers who might be too risk-averse to pull the trigger. The more they have to worry about hidden maintenance and repair costs, the less likely they are to buy your boards.  Product Protection Plans Add Value to Most Industries  Offering a type of insurance or product protection plan for the higher-cost items in... read more

“Venmo pilots Business Profile feature to showcase small businesses” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: Venmo announced that it launched Business Profiles, a feature which allows small businesses to create profiles and accept payments for their goods and services.With the payment platform’s Business Profiles feature, sellers can accept contactless payments, attract new customers and gain transactional insights regarding customers. Businesses can track their company transactions, the number of customers and their customer database, according to a company blog post.For now, the feature is only available to select retailers for free, but the company plans to make it available to other businesses within the coming months and possibly charge them fees to use the service, per the company blog post. Sellers with personal Venmo accounts can set up a company profile without creating a separate login. Dive Insight: In its announcement, Venmo acknowledged that the current economic climate has been challenging for small businesses, many of whom are sole proprietors. With the Business Profile pilot, the peer-to-peer payments platform follows in the footsteps of companies like Builder.ai, eBay, Facebook and Instagram, which have introduced tech tools and funding for small businesses.  The move also comes after Venmo engaged in partnerships with retailers and rolled out a new feature. Last October, the payments platform enlisted retailers like Target, Sephora and Sam’s Club as collaborators for its cashback incentives on its rewards card. Back in August, the company also debuted an instant transfer feature that allows users to send funds immediately to their linked bank accounts for a fee.  Venmo mentioned in its announcement that it has more than 52 million users. The company noted that establishing company profiles allows small businesses to tap into that network of users without needing a substantial advertising budget.  Using the... read more

“Tune in with Doug Works from Board Retailers Association” – interview conducted by Vipe Desai of PropagandaHQ.net

Doug Works, Executive Director of the Board Retailers Association shared updates with Vipe Desai on what the organization is doing to help its retail members and also shared insights as to how retailers are managing during the pandemic. Click on the image below to view the interview. Be sure to visit the Propaganda HQ website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Bike, Powder, Snowboarder, and Surfer magazines to cease publication indefinitely – The four titles will “pause” operations in the coming months and furlough employees without pay.” by ANDREW WEAVER via SNEWS

Four of the outdoor industry’s oldest print magazines—Bike, Powder, Snowboarder, and Surfer—will cease publication indefinitely this year, according to multiple sources at the brands’ parent company, A360 Media. TransWorld SKATEboarding, another A360 Media property, will also pause operations until further notice. Sierra Shafer, editor-in-chief at Powder, confirmed today that staff members at all five titles received indefinite furlough notifications late on Friday, October 2. Employees at Bike and Surfer were furloughed immediately, Shafer said, while Powderand Snowboarder staff learned the same would happen to them on November 20. None of the furloughed staff will be paid after operations cease. In a letter to A360 Media employees obtained by SNEWS on Monday, the company’s human resources director, Ken Slivken, confirmed that “COVID-19 has presented unforeseeable business circumstances and has had a sudden and dramatic impact on the business of A360 Media.” The letter made clear that the furloughs are a direct consequence of financial challenges created by the coronavirus pandemic. In its communications to employees, A360 Media described the development as a “pause” in operations, but at least one brand leader among the affected titles is skeptical the magazines will ever resume publishing. “As far as I know, there’s no plan to get our magazines back,” said Surfer editor-in-chief Todd Prodanovich. “It was made clear that we shouldn’t hold our breath for it to ever come back. It seems silly to say things are on pause when it seems that there’s no intention to bring it back. People just want to know—is it done or isn’t it?” Snowboarder editorial director Pat Bridges declined to comment for this story, but there’s evidence to suggest his title will be affected differently than the others. Adventure Journal reported today that a single editor will remain at Snowboarder to run the magazine’s website... read more

“SURFER Magazine Just Published Its Last Issue” by Zach Weisberg via The Inertia

The first and last covers of Surfer Magazine. According to SURFER Magazine Editor-in-Chief, Todd Prodanovich, issue number three of volume 61 will be the iconic publication’s final issue. Prodanovich posted the announcement on Instagram this morning with the following caption: “This is the last issue of @surfer_magazine,” wrote Prodanovich. “The whole staff got let go yesterday (no, nothing to do with the heat from the Biden endorsement 😂, just the Covid economy), but I feel like we’re ending on a high note with this one. The cover shot was taken by @donaldmiralle during the Encinitas paddle out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Inside has some of my all-time favorite features from my all-time favorite surf writers— @smashtyn_douglas , @hzahorseman and @seano888 —and a piece by me about the LGBTQ+ surf community that was the honor of my career to work on, and I’m so grateful to the subjects for trusting me with their stories. Funny how you can work a job like this for 10 years and each issue is a completely new and different journey. I’ll really miss that part, and the mag in general, which ends on this issue after 60 years of publication. Hope you all enjoy the issue and thanks for reading over the years. Lots of love to everyone I had the privilege of working with to make this thing what it was while we could” American Media acquired SURFER Magazine as well as Powder, Bike, Snowboarder, and several other titles from The Enthusiast Network in February 2019. Prior to that transaction, The Enthusiast Network shuttered its other surf publications, Transworld Surf in 2013 and Surfing Magazine in 2017. American Media continues to... read more

“Pacifico Presents Downtown Open Live Oct 8th” via Transworld SKATEboarding

Pacifico Downtown Open Live Recap Video (updated 10/9/20) Pacifico Clara® Beer Presents the Downtown Open S.K.A.T.E. ChampionshipA VIRTUAL HANDRAIL & STAIR SET S.K.A.T.E. COMPETITION BROADCASTED LIVE FROM CHICAGO Pacifico’s Downtown Open competition series is hosting its first ever handrail and stair set S.K.A.T.E. competition on Thursday, October 8 from 5pm – 7pm (CST) / 3pm-5pm (PST) here at skateboarding.com and our YouTube. The virtual event will be curated by Pacifico and TransWorld Skateboarding. Chicago, IL – October 8th, 2020 –Pacifico is inviting six top professional skateboarders; Chaz Ortiz, Ishod Wair, Jamie Foy, Felipe Gustavo, Manny Santiago, and TJ Rogers to Chicago to compete in the one-of-a-kind Downtown Open S.K.A.T.E championship. This isn’t your typical flatground game of S.K.A.T.E, these guys will be battling it out in a game of S.K.A.T.E exclusively on a handrail and set of stairs. Pacifico will transform a Chicago warehouse to host and stream the event.The competition will be broadcast live via the Transworld Skateboarding Website, Youtube, Facebook, and Downtown Open Twitch. Skate fans will receive an inside look at the competition through on-site hosts Chris Pastras, Chris Cote, and Jack Mitrani. Viewers can interact virtually with the hosts during the competition and ask questions in real-time while DJ Alissa Jo provides the tunes. One winner will be crowned victorious, walking away with the first ever Pacifico S.K.A.T.E. trophy. Following the event, Pacifico will host a social media poll allowing viewers to cast their vote to bring The Downtown Open to their city the following year. A post-event sweepstakes will also offer the audience a chance to attend next year’s event with a VIP package. Tune in for this first-of-its-kind event! Thanks to Transworld Skateboarding for... read more

“Trestles Has Been Saved (For Good, This Time) – AB 1426 PERMANENTLY PROTECTS SAN O STATE BEACH FROM ROAD INFRASTRUCTURE PROJECTS” by Owen James Burke via Surfer Magazine

A near two-decades-long battle to permanently protect San Onofre State Beach from road development came to an end on Friday night when California Governor Gavin Newsom signed Assembly Bill 1426, prohibiting the development of any roadway(s) that might impact or encroach upon the state beach. Behind this bill are countless efforts by the Surfrider Foundation and the Save San Onofre Coalition (SSOC), including everything from packing the house at public hearings, organizing paddle-outs and other surf events, and lobbying legislators. “We’re thrilled that Governor Newsom and the Legislature agree that protecting Trestles and San Onofre State Beach from damaging road projects is a clear state priority,” Surfrider Foundation’s Coastal Preservation Manager Stefanie Sekich-Quinn said in a press statement. Apart from harboring some of Southern California’s most hallowed surfing grounds, San Onofre State Beach, established by then-Governor Ronald Raegan in 1971, is home to San Matteo Creek watershed, the last remaining ‘undeveloped’ one in Southern California. As such, it’s among the last vestigial habitats for 11 endangered and threatened species. It also happens to be the site of over 2 million annual human visitors (and over 6 million dollars in state revenue), and roads, of course, are required to get the majority of us there. But in 2005, after plans were rolled out for a six-lane toll road off Interstate 5 that would have cut right through the state park (and also through a sacred site of the Acjachemen people), The SSOC, of which Surfrider Foundation is a part (along with Audubon California, The Sierra Club, and 9 other environmental organizations), quickly banded together. Over 1,000 activists showed up to a Parks and Recreation... read more

“Rest In Peace Keith Hufnagel – Words and photos from the skate world remembering our icon” via Transworld Skateboarding

Keith was the embodiment of raw East Coast power. His pop, style, and speed influenced the 90s generation and beyond. His skate career had no end in sight. He was a global icon. As a veteran on Real and with his own brand HUF, he mentored some of the greatest skaters of our time. Keith, you will be a part of skateboarding forever. Thank you. Rest in peace.—TWS Here’s an official statement from Huf WorldWide via Instagram:“We are absolutely heartbroken to deliver the news today that HUF founder Keith Hufnagel has passed away. Keith battled brain cancer for the past 2.5 years. And though he beat the odds and fought back much longer than his diagnosis permitted, he ultimately and unfortunately lost the fight. Keith was not only the ‘HUF’nagel in HUF. He was the heart and soul of this brand. He built and brought together a community of people like no one else could. Keith paved the way for all of us – as a respected professional skateboarder, shop owner, brand founder, footwear and apparel designer, creative director, and industry leader. He showed us how to do it, and how do it right. Keith loved skateboarding and the culture around it. He did things his way and did them for the right reasons. He inspired so many of us across the globe. But above anything else, Keith loved and supported the people around him. He would do anything for his friends, family and children. He passionately wanted to see others succeed. And we all loved him for it. Keith’s legacy will continue to live on at HUF. Today, tomorrow and forever. Rest in... read more

“The Untapped Opportunity That COVID-19 Created for Store Associates” by Oscar Sachs via Total Retail

The retail landscape looks completely different today compared to the beginning of 2020. COVID-19 has caused stores to shut down and employees to be furloughed. Retailers were already challenged before the pandemic began, and now many consumers are wary of returning to stores. Furthermore, social distancing regulations limit the number of people allowed in a store at the same time. This results in less opportunities for consumers to interact with brand and store associates. However, sharp declines in store traffic have also presented new opportunities for store associates. Technology is helping them bridge the online-offline service gap in a whole new way with clienteling. While there may be less customers than usual in stores, there are more customers shopping online than ever before. Associates working in-store or remotely are now providing online shoppers with personalized services and experiences, similar to what we would expect from shopping in a store. Virtual Associates Are Meeting Customers Online as They Browse Customers shopping online are looking to be served in a personalized way while they browse. In fact, Salesfloor’s data shows a 3x increase in customer engagement online since the beginning of the pandemic, and retailers are seeing up to a 700 percent lift in sales attributed to clienteling. Retailers that are using clienteling solutions leverage their associates as virtual product experts or stylists that can assist customers on their site, offer fit and style recommendations, and answer specific questions. This makes the online shopping experience feel less about just making an e-commerce purchase, and more like the in-store experience where they’re browsing and shopping. Giving consumers the ability to initiate digital conversations with an associate from a... read more

“Jeremy Jones Talks About ‘Purple Mountains’ and Finding Political Common Ground on Climate Change” by Will Sileo of The Inertia

According to the film’s description, Purple Mountains is, “One man’s journey to find common ground in the mountains — one voter at a time.” That one man is snowboarding legend Jeremy Jones. Jones is one of the greatest freeriders of all time, helping to pioneer professional big mountain snowboarding (especially human-powered big mountain snowboarding). More recently, he’s also made a name for himself as a climate activist. In 2007 Jeremy founded Protect Our Winters (POW), a nonprofit dedicated to activating the outdoor sports community in the fight against climate change, and in 2010 he swore off using helicopters and snowcats, making a personal commitment to earning his turns. Named for the need to influence key swing states in the upcoming election (and perhaps an ode to the line from the song America the Beautiful), the film follows Jeremy on a journey to understand why the U.S. is so divided on climate change and how we can find common ground through the American love of the outdoors. In doing so he hopes to energize the ‘Outdoor State’ – the 50 million people in the U.S. who identify with the mountains, the rivers, and the sea. The film is a must watch for any American, especially those who fit the ‘Outdoors State’ description. As he was driving home after a surf trip to Santa Barbara, I grilled him about the film: What are your hopes for the movie? What do you want it to inspire in people or bring about as a result? It would be kinda naïve to think some far right climate denier will change their ways, but I’m hoping that someone... read more

“Office Depot Preferential Member Pricing Program now available for all BRA Regular (no cost) and Distinguished Retail Members”

The Mission of Board Retailers Association is to consolidate the voices, the experiences and the visions of Board Specialty Retailers into a cohesive organization. We do this by identifying ways to lower day to day expenses, to increase profit margins and to create more remarkable customer experiences for our Retail Members. As a BRA Retail Member, you will have a voice, you will benefit from BRA relationships and you will have access to a number of BRA programs and resources including the new Office Depot Exclusive Preferential BRA Member Pricing Program. The image below elaborates on this outstanding Member Benefit, which is available to both Regular (no cost) and Distinguished Retail Members. If you are interested in improving your business, click on the following link to learn about both BRA Retail Membership options: https://www.boardretailers.org/retail-membership/ Soon after you complete the following super simple join form, we will email you the link to gain access to this rad program and begin saving on over 20,000 Office Depot Products and Services: https://www.boardretailers.org/join-bra/ #boardretailersassociation... read more

“What Does the Reaction to Tyler Wright’s Stand Say About Surfers? SURF CULTURE, RACIAL JUSTICE AND SOCIAL MEDIA’S POISON PILL” by Todd Prodanovich via Surfer Mag

Photo Credit: Ryan MillerTyler Wright, standing up for Black lives on her way to victory at the Tweed Coast Pro. On Sunday morning during the WSL’s Tweed Coast Pro pandemic-era specialty event, two-time world champion Tyler Wright made the biggest news (see: only news) of the otherwise lackluster surf comp when she kneeled next to her board painted with “Black Lives Matter” for 439 seconds, each second representing one of the First Nations people who have died in police custody in Australia since 1991. It was always going to be impactful, as Wright was the first World Tour surfer to use their platform to publicly support the Black Lives Matter movement, but I never would have guessed that it would also be so controversial. After all, Wright may be the first World Tour surfer to take this stand, but she’s far from the first pro athlete. Players in the WNBA, the NBA, the MLB and the NFL have been publicly supporting the movement for months, recently culminating in a historic, multi-league strike in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police. Just last week, a Washington Post poll of Americans showed that 62 percent of participants believed that athletes “should use their platforms to express their views on national issues.” And that poll was taken from a random national sample—coastal surf fans would skew even more progressive than that, right? Apparently not. Or at least that’s not what the reaction by surfers would suggest. At the time of this writing, the comments on the WSL’s post of Wright kneeling total nearly 5,000 – perhaps the most ever for a non-shark-attack-related post on the... read more

“Do you know what your missing?” by Dan Pankratz of Exchange Collective

When only 23% of US retailers use people counting devices to measure traffic, how do you know what you are missing?  Reports from Footfall and ShopVisible state that only an average of 20% of your stores traffic will make a purchase, meaning 80% of your traffic is walking out the front door. Yet about 55% of the people walking out of your store were there to make a purchase. So for every 10 people that come in to your store, you are only making 2 sales, and 4 potential sales are walking out the door.   What are you doing to find out what the 4 people wanted? Are you letting customers leave to buy somewhere else? Will those 4 potential customers ever come back? Empowering your sales staff in this day and age is more important than ever. The consumer now has more information about the products they want to buy than any other time in retail history. This drives the need for your sales staff to be equipped with the right set of skills and tools to be able to give customers the best service possible. If a customer walks into your store you have a chance to make them a customer for life or let them fall in to the abyss of online shopping. It may seem simple to say good customer service is what your sales staff needs, but what does that really mean. Originally this would be a good greeting of each customer, an open ended question to break the ice, and then finding out why they came into the store and help them... read more

“SES to Interview Industry Leaders During Surf Expo Connect” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Clockwise from top left: Paul Naude, CEO of Stokehouse and owner of Vissla, Amuse Society and Sisstrevolution; Linsey and Karly Cottrell, who own Island Water Sports with their brother, Cheyne; Pura Vida Founders Paul Goodman and Griffin Thall; and Patrik Schmidle of ActionWatch. By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Sep 15, 2020 We are excited to announce that we have lined up lots of big names for a series of video interviews we are doing for Surf Expo Connect, the virtual trade show that launches on Wednesday. Here’s the schedule and what I’ll be talking to industry leaders about. Interviews will be available on the Surf Expo Connect platform live and on-demand. Retailers can register to attend at no cost. Register here. Booming Sales for Boardsports and Water Business – Wednesday 7am PST/10 am EST When the pandemic first hit, everyone worried if independent industry retailers would survive. For many, business rebounded much more strongly than expected. We talk to eight retailers around the country about the unexpected boom in business and how they are feeling about the rest of the year. Retailers we talk to include Surfside Sports in Costa Mesa, Ron Jon in Florida, Hansen’s in Encinitas, WRV and 17th Street in Virginia Beach, Hi-Tech in Maui, Wanderlust Land & Sea in New Jersey and BuyWake.com in Georgia. Navigating the Pandemic: Opportunities and Concerns with Vissla CEO Paul Naude – Wednesday 12 pm PST/3 pm EST A conversation with Paul Naude about how his company has managed through the pandemic, where he sees openings for the industry and where he sees potential trouble ahead. Big Opportunity: Surging Hardgoods Sales and Participation Numbers... read more

“You Might Not Need to Worry About Breaking a Brand New Surfboard Ever Again” via The Inertia

Editor’s Note: Just bought a new surfboard? Check out Surfcare, a new option for peace of mind. You just dropped an unforgiving grand(ish) on a creamy white hunk of fiberglass – straight off the rack from your local surf shop. It’s silky to the touch. Your eye skims its clean eyes with adoration. You’re beaming with pride. You’re also a little sheepish about the purchase. The expense to fragility ratio is merciless. The reef doesn’t care about your investment. Nor does the minefield of surfboards at crowded spots like Malibu. Nope. They’ll happily break your board for you and kill that joy at no cost. The fragility of expensive surfboards has long defied logic for addicted, cash-constrained surfers. But a sensible solution may have just hit the market. Enter Surfcare: insurance for your brand new surfboard. “I was on a six-month trip to Indonesia when I had my ‘aha’ moment,” says Surfcare Founder Nick Stolz. “I showed up to the tiny Island of Sipura in the Mentawais with a brand new quiver of boards. Within a couple weeks, however, I broke every single one of them surfing HT’s and waves on neighboring islands. That’s when I decided to make Surfcare a reality.” Surfcare cofounder Nick Stolz charging Nias prior to breaking all of his surfboards and deciding to do something capitalist about it. Photo: Courtesy Stolz According to Stolz, the brand launched last month after three years of development and hoop-jumping to abide by regulations in the understandably no-nonsense insurance industry. Insurance is not a bro-bro industry.  Warranties must be vetted and maintained. “To get a little into the weeds, I didn’t know what I was... read more

“African Kids From São Tomé Build Their Own Skateboards By Hand A True Skateboard Story” | Interview With Photographer Greg Ewing by Jaime Owens via Transworld Skateboarding

Last week, an image of some barefooted kids riding on very primitive looking, makeshift skateboards went viral across the skate “social-verse”. It instantly put a smile on your face like, “Yes! This is amazing. And where is this from?” The picture captured the raw and pure innocence of these kids’ ingenuity for homemade skateboards, and the stoke on their faces was something that we all could relate to. Fortunately, we were able to touch base with South African photographer Greg Ewing about his amazing photo and get some background on this crew of skaters that live off the Western Coast of Africa. Hey Greg thanks for taking the time, can you give me a little background on you and your photography?I’m a bit of an old school South African based surf and travel photographer, been doing it for over 20 years. I grew up in Cape Town and then moved to Durban to work at our local surf magazine Zigzag where I was staff photographer for many years and then Photo Editor. These days I’ve gotten into printing and I own and run an online Ocean Art Gallery called Ocean Collective where I print and sell local surf photographers’ work. “These images are very personal to me and it’s special to see them getting new life and hopefully doing good.” The image that sparked off a sharing frenzy in the skate social media world is actually a few years old. Can you talk about how you got that image and story behind the trip?Most of my trips, if not all, were inspired by a story of waves or a picture I... read more

“MY DOORS ARE OPEN and I survived the summer…NOW WHAT??” by Dave Seehafer of Global Wave Ventures

Now that summer is over, I’ve been chatting with specialty retailers across the nation on ways to boost profits, manage inventory & orders, keep customers coming through the doors and much more, as we head into 4th quarter. With uncertain consumer spending, retail closures, bankruptcies & job losses, and a consumer who wants an engaging retail experience along with quality, value and competitive pricing, the savvy specialty retailer will be looking ahead to see where all of these factors will lead 1, 3, or even 5 years from now.  Consider the following questions as you strategize and plan–“how have my customers changed over the past six months, and what can I learn from it?”, “what products might my customers be interested in that I am not currently stocking”, and “how can I improve their customer experience when they walk into my store”. Here are some areas that, I believe, require focus and commitment in the months ahead: 1)  Manage  orders & inventory levels to maximize sales of high margin items &  private label/shop-logo goods             Many shops this summer were selling record numbers of surfboards, skateboards, accessories and more, often causing shortages and lost sales.  Meanwhile, sales of high margin soft goods overall were down, compared to prior summers.    While such hard good sales boost monthly numbers quickly, their low margins are usually below the cost of doing business, thus jeopardizing true profitability.              NOW is the time to focus and prioritize on high profit, high margin items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, some accessories and certainly your shop-logo/private label items. Display and merchandise high margin items in the... read more

“Democratizing retail is all about broad participation” by Mike Massey Founder / CEO of Locally

My partners and I started Locally 5 years ago with a vision of helping online shoppers find and complete their purchases with their favorite nearby stores. We saw that consumer behavior was shifting to online product research and feared that local stores would increasingly be cut off from shoppers’ decision-making process. The initial effort was relatively small. We had 13 retailers participating after the first year, and all we could do for them is try to help them win natural search results in their town. At the time, the idea of local stores winning the SEO battles was seen as landing somewhere between futile and irrelevant. Adoption was slow. But things change. Over the next couple of years, we built more point-of-sale (POS) connections for retailers to use when joining, and we started building tools for brands to use in their own marketing and on their sites. As we drove more consumer engagements, more businesses joined the platform. More retailers started sharing inventory, more brands started displaying local ways to buy things. And, we kept iterating. First, we added Reserve-Online-Pay-In-Store (ROPIS). A year later we built Buy-Online-Pickup-In-Store (BOPIS or Click-and-Collect). Last year, we added support for Same-Day Delivery via third party couriers like Postmates. Today, we’re working on Ship-to-Store (which lets brands and stores work together on full-service local pickups). Soon, we will offer local returns for online purchases, even further closing the loop between stores, brands, and shoppers. 1.9 Billion Shopper Engagements in December Over the 5 year arc of adoption, we’ve gone from 13 participating stores to almost 10,000 in over 3,500 cities. We’ve gone from 25 founding brand partners... read more

“Should retailers get their workers and customers out to vote?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

Retailers have at least three paths to join in on the upcoming elections: giving their employees time off to vote, encouraging customers to go to the polls and selling election merchandise. More than 700 companies, including Walmart, Macy’s, Starbucks and Nike, have joined the nonpartisan coalition Time to Vote and committed to making it easier for their employees to vote. Walmart is giving U.S. workers up to three hours paid time off to vote. J. Crew is closing its stores and corporate offices on Election Day. Some have called out the importance of voting in the wake of the racial injustice protests and other challenges facing the country. “Who you vote for is a very personal decision that you make as a citizen,” said Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson in a letter to employees. “It is one way for you to be heard. It is how democracy works. Yet we know that barriers exist, notably in Black and Brown communities throughout the nation, that lend to systemic racism and require greater voter access and protections.” Starbucks’ has also added features in its app to help customers learn how to register to vote, and ”Rock The Vote” and other consumer campaigns, as usual, are ramping up their campaigns. On Monday, Old Navy said it will pay store employees who serve as poll workers to help offset a national poll worker shortage. The chain is inviting eligible consumers who want to be poll workers to participate, as well. “Every voice in this country matters and deserves to be heard at the polls, and if we at Old Navy can be even a small part of... read more

“Roy Turner on How Virtual Surf Expo Will Work, Committed Brands” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Please click on the following link to view this relevant Shop Eat Surf Article about this month’s Surf Expo connect Virtual Show from the perspective of Surf Expo Show Director, Emerald SVP and OG BRA Founder:  Roy Turner on How Virtual Surf Expo Will Work, Committed Brands Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Why A Protection Plan for Surfboards Might Be The Next Big Thing” by Vipe Desai via PropagandaHQ.net

Challenging times are prime for innovation and during the pandemic and it’s great to see new ideas find their way into the industry. One new innovation that caught my attention was Surfcare, the world’s first surfboard protection plan. Where if your board gets dinged, they’ll fix it for free. And if they can’t fix it, they’ll replace it. Now before you roll your eyes and dismiss this idea, take a moment to think about the things you might insure already – like your cell phone, home, car, etc. We already look to protect our purchase of expensive items so it makes a lot of sense that a service like Surfcare would be valued when purchasing a new surfboard – especially as costs of surfboards have risen over the years. I not only had a chance to catch up with the two founders, Nick Stolz and Rhett McNulty, to get more details of their new service but got some feedback from one of their retailers and a customer. Here’s what they all shared with me. Now that Surfcare has been available in the market for a period of time, what have you learned about the service based on retailer and consumer feedback? From the consumer standpoint, all of the protection plans whether monthly, annual, or 2-year, have been getting purchased evenly. It’s difficult to say which one will become the favorite this early on. We do expect that we will need time to change buying behavior even if people think Surfcare is great. Surfers aren’t used to adding that extra cost to their boards so the increased visibility and education on the... read more

“SKATERS RECOMMEND THEIR FAVORITE SKATE PANTS” via Jenkem Mag

While it’s nearly impossible to remember all the skating you see everyday across your screens, something that never gets by us is a good pair of pants. We’ve been guilty of freeze-framing clips just to screenshot a pair of perfectly baggy pants or a pair that falls just so over a pair of Vans, hoping to hunt the same pair down to add to our repertoire. To help you all in your hunt for pant perfection, we decided to list some of our favorite finds from years of hunting. To make things even more spicy, we also hit up some of our favorite skaters known for their pant selections to see what their favorites are to round out the bunch. Check all the picks out below, or just ignore them and keep skating in the same cardboard-ass Dickies like everyone else. JUSTIN HENRY‘S PICKS Vans Authentic Chino Glide Pro: Classic chino skate pant. Straight to it, these pants can last the test of time and are still extremely comfy. They are lightweight, easy to wash, and solid, so not much more to say. In my opinion, the khaki ones are the winner. These pants sit at $70 bones, so jump on that. QUASI Fatigue Pant: The first time I got these pants I wore them every day for a month straight. The tapered leg fit is always my favorite in a pant. These are a rare one too with the stretch moleskin material. Makes them so good for skate and kicking it but they’re so clean you can run these eating fancy at a steakhouse. Swipe the card for $92 and... read more

“How Retailers Can Compete in a Free Shipping World” from Retail Right Now Podcast by Joe Keenan and Kristina Stidham via Total Retail

How Retailers Can Compete in a Free Shipping World Click the link above to view this episode In this episode of Retail Right Now, Total Retail’s Joe Keenan and Kristina Stidham discuss Total Retail’s latest research report, How to Make Free Shipping Profitable. The report is the compilation of a 10-part article series that Total Retail published on the topic earlier this year. The report is intended to educate retailers on how they can offer free shipping, helping them to remain a viable option in a saturated and ultracompetitive e-commerce market, without it becoming a money-losing proposition. This has taken on even more significance given the COVID-19 landscape, and consumers increasing penchant to shop online. The report addresses various buttons that retailers can push to offset the cost of offering free shipping on online orders. Within the report, insights are shared on such things as comparing carrier rates to find the best provider for your business, the role of marketing in offering free shipping, how product returns factor into the free shipping equation, among many others. You can download the complimentary report, How to Make Free Shipping Profitable, by clicking here. Total Retail is the go-to source for executives looking for the latest news and analysis on the retail industry. Be sure to bookmark this helpful and relevant site: https://www.mytotalretail.com/ If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Facebook adds shopping section, expands Instagram checkout” by Robert Williams via Mobile Marketer

Brief: Facebook added a shopping section to its main social networking app and plans to offer more software tools to help businesses set up online stores. Facebook Shop is a dedicated place for merchants to show product catalogs to shoppers who can buy items directly through the app, the company announced in a blog post.The company also plans to offer Instagram Checkout to all U.S. businesses, letting them sell products directly through the photo-sharing app. To use the service, businesses must have a shop in the app and use Facebook Commerce Manager or e-commerce platforms Shopify and BigCommerce. Facebook plans to support other platforms soon. The company is waiving selling fees through the end of 2020 to help small businesses during the pandemic.Facebook and Instagram Shops are integrated with the company’s messaging apps, letting businesses answer questions from shoppers before they make a purchase. A messaging button connects shoppers with businesses through Messenger or Instagram Direct, while a test with WhatsApp will begin soon. Following recent pilots, the company also introduced a “live shopping” feature on Facebook and Instagram, letting merchants livestream a shopping session to customers. Instagram Live Shopping is available to all businesses and creators that use checkout in the U.S., per Facebook’s blog. Insight: Facebook aims to help mobile marketers sell directly through its family of apps, including its main social network and Instagram, with this week’s expansion of e-commerce features. The recent jump in e-commerce activity during the pandemic has hastened the company’s move into online shopping, letting businesses convert Facebook and Instagram users into paying customers. The features are especially useful for small businesses or creators with limited financial and technological... read more

“Surfboard Insurance Is Now A Thing – An Ingenious Idea To Insure Your Stick Against Breaks, Dings And Damage” by ZANDER MORTON via Surfer Mag

New surfboards, as we all know, are expensive. And, unfortunately, they’re also easy to break. Snapping or dinging a brand-new fiberglass investment has happened to every surfer at least once — and when it happens, it’s a shitty, sinking feeling. Enter Surfcare. Straight out of the why didn’t I think of that department, Surfcare is a new insurance company that protects the hard-earned cash you spend on your very fragile surfboards. How does it work? Well, it’s pretty straightforward, actually: Buy a Surfcare plan directly from the surf shop where you purchased the board, or (within 30 days of buying the board), sign up for Surfcare by uploading a photo of the surfboard and the receipt on the Surfcare website, and choose a plan there. 10 bucks monthly gets you coverage against breaks, buckles and fin boxes. 12 bucks and you also get ding repair. And for 14 dollars your removable fins are insured as well. (Yearly plans are discounted further.) “We created Surfcare off that feeling that you get when you break your favorite board on the first session while it’s pumping,” says founder Nick Stolz. “It’s always been our goal to help people surf happier and to eliminate some of that bad, board-break feeling.” Sound too good to be true? Well, it isn’t. Whether you break your board on your first wave, or two years later (the max protection period), so long as you’re still insuring that board Surfcare will work with the surf shop or manufacturer where you purchased it and replace it with a brand new replica. In either scenario, all you’re on the hook for is a... read more

“Industry Veteran on Why Giving Back is Good for Society and The Bottom Line” by Vipe Desai via PropagandaHQ.net

They say that good is the new cool and it’s definitely catching on with more brands and people in the action sports industry. One effort that caught our attention is that of industry veteran, Melissa Martinez-Booth where she’s focusing on doing good for retailers and her Laguna Beach community with 4SOCIETEE. She’s proving that you can have a positive impact and support local businesses at the same time. And in these uncertain times, collaboration with your community is welcome news. Can you give our readers an overview of your background and how it inspired you to create 4SOCIETEE? The surf industry was definitely not part of the plan when I started studying fashion design in NYC.  A West Coast vacation …turned into a year of maybe…and eventually a life here.  With Cali living centered around the beach and surfing, I naturally gravitated towards the action sports industry, designing for OG surf brands like O’Neill and Quiksilver. I met my husband – a former pro surfer at Quik, during my time as a design director there…and early on, our family became pretty set in a groove of surf-related activity – my son and daughter growing up competing as well.  When we learned that surfing was the only sport, not scholarship represented through their high school, we sat out to change this – creating a map tee of our own beach town to use as a fundraiser. This tee shirt launched the Laguna Beach Surf Team Scholarship, now in its 5th year, has raised $50k in helping to send graduating surfers to college.  We often thought of extending this give-back concept into other causes, and when COVID... read more

“The Fin Box, Its History, and Why It Changed Surfing Forever” by Sam George via The Inertia

Downing’s original inlaid wooden slot, and the modern box courtesy of Futures. Editor’s Note: Welcome to our new series, Ride This, where we look at innovations in the world of surfing and beyond that changed the pursuit forever. In this edition, Sam George looks at the fin box, where it came from, and how it’s become an intricate part of surfboard design and wave -riding progression.  The Fin Box A slot or plug that in the surfboard manufacturing process is laminated flush to the bottom section of the tail into which fins of various designs can easily be inserted and removed. Where’d it Come From? The history of the fin box begins, like so many other surfboard innovations, with the late George Downing of Hawaii. The youngest member of a crew of hardy big wave pioneers experimenting with the narrow-tailed, finless “Hot Curl” boards back in the 1940s, Downing was relentless in his press for greater performance. This led to the creation of the first modern big wave surfboard, a remarkably sophisticated balsa-wood pintail he shaped in 1951, dubbing it “The Rocket.” In terms of template and foil The Rocket was at least 30 years ahead of its time, yet the design leap most quantum was the inlaid wooden slot into which a fin could be wedged, allowing Downing for the first time to experiment with various shapes and positions. Ironically, this innovation ultimately slowed the development of the fin box: once Downing found the optimum positioning, and having by then adopted the use of fiberglass, he began glassing the fins on, pointing to increased torque against the base. This obvious advancement preceded... read more

“Retail Check In: Val Surf” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

Please click on the following link to view this Shop Eat Surf News Article (about BRA Retail Member Val Surf):   Retail Check In: Val Surf A Val Surf skate section. Val Surf has four stores in the Los Angeles region that sell surf, skate and snow goods. Photo courtesy of Val Surf. Please note that this article is a Shop Eat Surf Executive Edition article so you will need to sign up and pay for access before viewing. We, at BRA,  feel that the benefits of the SES Executive Edition Membership outweigh the cost. Be sure to visit the Shop Eat Surf website to view valuable Industry News and Resourceful Articles regularly via this link: Shop Eat Surf If you are not yet a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“What does the pandemic mean for mobile pay?” by Tom Ryan via Retail Wire

While there’s no evidence COVID-19 can be transmitted by cash or credit cards, the use of mobile payments and contactless cards has taken off in recent months over concerns about touching surfaces, according to research from the National Retail Federation’s “State of Retail Payments” study. Among the findings: Sixty-seven percent of retailers now accept some form of no-touch payment.Fifty-eight percent accept contactless cards that can be waved past a card reader or tapped on the reader, up from 40 percent last year; Fifty-six percent take digital wallet payments on mobile phones, up from 44 percent;No-touch payments have increased for 69 percent of retailers surveyed since January. “Retailers are putting health and safety first and have rolled out a variety of no-touch payment options in order to err on the side of caution,” said Leon Buck, NRF VP for government relations, banking and financial services, in a statement. A separate consumer survey found 19 percent made a digital payment in a store for the first time this May and 57 percent would likely continue to do so once the pandemic has subsided. Of those, 62 percent used their phone and 56 percent used a contactless card. Visa’s just-released “Back to Business” study likewise found consumers significantly prioritizing contactless pay, while Mastercard just reported strong quarterly growth in contactless and digital transactions. On the downside, according to NRF’s study, higher costs, including fees for processing transactions, are the top concern for 67 percent of retailers that accept no-touch payments. Banks charge a fee averaging about 2.5 percent when a credit card is used for an in-person purchase, and the fee climbs slightly higher for transactions made online or... read more

“American Airlines Completely Demolished This Guy’s Quiver and They’re Protected by the Fine Print” by Alexander Haro via The Inertia

Three of the boards in question. How, exactly, does this level of damage occur? Photos: Thompson If you’ve traveled on an airplane with surfboards more than say, twice, it’s likely you’ve found a ding or two when you get to your destination. It’s a common story, and it’s not one that’s only common to Average Joe traveler. Bob Hurley and Kelly Slater famously took Hawaiian Airlines to task, calling board bag fees a “default profit racket.” Kanoa Igarashi opened his board bag to find every last one snapped in half. American Airlines completely demolished Alex Gray’s surfboards. The level of damage airlines can do to surfboards can make one wonder what, exactly, is going on in the dark recesses of airports. The saving grace for pro surfers, however, is that they’re not short on surfboards. For Average Joe traveler, finding a whole quiver wrecked is a disaster. Such was the case for Greg Thompson, who recently unzipped his bag to find his quiver so broken it appears it went through a wood chipper. Thompson, who is from Durban, South Africa, flew to California pre-COVID. The plan was a good one: to help sail a boat down to Mexico and do some surfing while he was there. “I figured I’d be surfing down in Mex come the south swell season,” he explained. “It sounded perfect, so I spent a decent chunk of change getting some good boards.” Then, of course, COVID began its global sweep. “Everything started going crazy about a week after that,” he told me, “and most places like South Africa are still not accepting any international flights yet.” So plans changed. Thompson... read more

“Retailers Turning to Gift Cards as Promotional Tools” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

Gift cards, both physical and digital, have often been viewed (mistakenly) by retailers as strictly a transactional product — in most cases to be rolled out during the Q4 holiday shopping season. However, gift cards hold a lot more value to a retail organization than simply as a product that’s purchased in-store or on an e-commerce site. For example, they can be used as a tool to incentivize consumers to take other preferred actions, such as signing up for an email and/or loyalty program, downloading an app, submitting a customer review, among other actions. As part of the 2019 Merchant Gift Card E-Commerce Evaluation, a comprehensive report produced by Blackhawk Network, a company that delivers branded payment solutions through the prepaid products, technologies and network that connect brands and people, in partnership with NAPCO Research (NAPCO Research and Total Retail both are brands of parent company NAPCO Media), a cross-platform evaluation was done to assess 150 leading brands across 108 unique criteria. How merchants are leveraging gift cards as a promotional tool was just one of those 108 unique criteria. Related story: Report: Merchants’ Investments in Digital Gift Card Programs Paying Off In the 2019 assessment, 40 percent of the 150 merchants evaluated were credited with points for the use of gift cards as a promotional tool. However, when looking more closely at the data, for the 95 brands that were analyzed in both 2018 and 2019 (the sample size increased from 100 in 2018 to 150 in 2019), 43 percent received points for their use of gift cards as a promotional tool. So while brands are beginning to use gift cards... read more

“V-shaped June recovery for US skate and surf but concerns remain” via Action Watch

June 2020 US core skate and surf sales grew +15% When we first saw the preliminary June 2020 sales data for the ActionWatch US retailer panel, we had a hard time believing the results. The first set of data indicated that year-over-year sales grew by 20% or more. By the time we received all the data, the store sales for all categories increased by +15% when compared to last June. This resulted in an almost perfect V-shaped recovery after a disastrous March, an even worse April, and a promising May. Source:  Same-Store ActionWatch Panel 2019 to YTD June 2020 On the surface, this V-shaped recovery is encouraging, not just for the short-term recovery of the core surf and skate channel, but for the long-term health of the industry. While the Covid-19 pandemic forced store closures in March, April, and May, it also had a positive impact. As schools and team sports activities were shut down, kids and adults were looking for alternative ways to engage in sports while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Skateboarding not only fits this description, but is inexpensive and can be done just about anywhere. While water sports tend to require a larger investment in equipment and access to beaches, lakes, rivers, and boats, they are easy to participate in while practicing social distancing. Source: (C) 2020 Physical Activity Council (PAC Study). The PAC study is the most comprehensive study of sports participation in the USA, conducted by Sports Marketing Surveys USA – contact info@sportsmarketingsurveysusa.com. Once core stores were able to reopen, malls were still closed, and consumers received stimulus checks it represented a perfect... read more

“What the Great American Outdoors Act Means for Our Oceans and Beaches CONGRESS PASSES BILL IN A SHOW OF BIPARTISAN SUPPORT” by OWEN JAMES BURKE via Surfer Mag

Last week, Congress passed the Great American Outdoors Act (GAOA) with sweeping bipartisan support, which President Trump is expected to sign after tweeting his support back in early March. “When I sign it into law,” the president’s tweet reads, “it will be HISTORIC for our beautiful public lands.” If signed by the commander in chief, the GAOA, as proposed, would annually (and indefinitely) deliver $900 million in energy development tax revenues garnered from federal land and water to the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), as well as $6.5 billion over the course of 5 years to the Restore Our Parks Act. “The passage of the Great American Outdoors Act is a major win for our beaches and all of us who enjoy them,” Pete Stauffer, Surfrider’s Environmental Director, told SURFER. Supporters of the bill say that it will create at least 100,000 jobs while restoring national parks and repairing trails and forest systems. According to Surfrider, the act is a desperately needed win for our exploited public land and water, and the communities thereabout. “When President Kennedy signed the LWCF into law, his vision was based on a simple concept: take revenues from offshore oil and gas production to protect parks, open spaces, sensitive habitat and to improve recreational opportunities across the U.S,” explains Surfrider in a recent blog post. “Surfrider is adamantly opposed to new offshore drilling, but we believe it makes sense to direct a percentage of royalties from leases issued in the past to help support conservation. Unfortunately, the program has never been fully funded over the past 55 years. “For over 50 years, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has... read more

“BLACK SKATERS SHARE THEIR EXPERIENCES IN SKATEBOARDING” by Larry Lanza via Jenkem Mag

As skateboarders we all know there’s nothing in the world that is more freeing than the going out and skating with your friends. All of the issues of the world seem to fall to the wayside when we’re skating. Unfortunately as our friend Neftalie Williams says, “Skateboarding is of the world.” Meaning that all the good and bad issues and problems that affect the world, affect the skateboard community and industry too. Racism is one of those issues, and we’ve seen skaters across the world band together and take a stand during the Black Lives Matter protests. To continue learning how to be better allies and friends to our black brothers and sisters, a few skaters were kind enough to share their experiences with race and if being black has had an effect on their place in skateboarding. The first step to long-lasting change starts with listening which will hopefully lead to empathy, understanding, and an urgency to see equality of treatment for all. RASHAD MURRAY As skaters, we deal with police and security guards quite a bit, what have your interactions with police been like while skating?Usually, not good. Security guards can be extremely hostile and the police are quick to step out and ruin your day. I’ve noticed that the cops are way more respectful and polite to the white skaters I was with. I think when the cops see a white face it makes them feel more comfortable. But when they see me, they feel the need to ask questions and antagonize me. If a white skater and friend see that happening, what should they do?Stand... read more