BRA Hires New Executive Director!

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (October 24th, 2016) – With the fall season now officially in full swing, the Board Retailers Association (BRA) has made a bold move and hired a new Executive Director to oversee operations. Mike Scully, a veteran sales executive, will oversee the non-profit organization representing more than 600 independent owned surf, skate, snow and wake retailers. A lifelong resident of Fort Lauderdale and action sports fanatic, Scully’s passion is a natural fit for the organization. Coupled with his business acumen, earned over 35 year in corporate sales management, Scully is the perfect person to fill the role, according to BRA chairman Bruce Cromartie. “I met Mike when I was about 13,”says Cromartie, “our mutual love of surfing has bonded us together for more years than I care to count. His enthusiasm for surfing, skateboarding and paddle boarding is unparalleled and his fresh perspective on the industry will be a welcome addition to our organization’s management team.” Aside from his professional sales experience, Scully is also President of the Greenback Surf Club. This Florida based nonprofit dates back to 1967 and focuses its efforts on keeping the beaches open, caring for the environment and aiding in local civic issues. “I’ve loved action sports as long as I can remember,” says Scully. “To now have the opportunity to apply my business experience to an industry that I’ve admired for so long is extremely exciting. I’m looking forward to going to local surf shops I’ve visited as a customer and working with their owners to develop their business and amplifying their voices. Bruce and I are eager to work with... read more

How Retailers Can Prepare for the Holidays

I know what you’re thinking. It’s not even Halloween yet, so why are we already talking about the holidays?! We know that some of you save your holiday shopping for the last minute, but retailers spend months preparing for Santa to load his sleigh. When planning for the holiday season, retailers know that they need to be ready to take on their busiest time of the year! Here are a few tips for helping your business stay ahead of the game during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Perfect Your Website Customers tend to be drawn to brands that give them the most pleasant experience, and customer service is not limited to just the brick and mortar presence. Your customer’s online experience is just as important! Ensure that you have created a website that is easy-to-navigate for your shoppers this holiday season. Remember that one of the biggest reasons that customers gravitate to online shopping is for the convenience factor. Therefore, a quick and smooth process on your website will result in more sales. It is also crucial that your website is mobile-friendly. Smartphones are becoming increasingly more popular than desktops for surfing the web, so make sure to create that level of mobile convenience for your buyers. Prepare Your Products Do you have what your shoppers are shopping for? Before the holidays arrive, it’s a good idea to stock up on your key inventory products. With that, take a look at trending sales over the last year and even the previous holiday season. What products are your customers looking for? By understanding the wants and needs of... read more

BRA’s New Chairman and New Future

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC – The Board Retailers Association (BRA), a non-profit organization representing more than 600 independent owned surf, skate, snow and wake retailers is pleased to announce that it has elected a new chairman, Bruce Cromartie of BC Surf and Sport, for the 2017 term. Having previously served as Co-Chair from 2011-2014, Cromartie is primed to take the reins of the organization. Cromartie opened the original BC Surf & Sport in 1977. In 1986, he and a partner opened a store in Littleton, Colorado just as snowboarding started to gain popularity. Since that time, BC has grown to 15 stores, primarily located in the Rockies and Florida. As a multi-sport industry veteran, Cromartie has the industry relationships and experience to connect with members, develop new partnerships and unify retailers. “Being a member of BRA has been a great experience for me,” says Cromartie,“and I look forward to working with our Board of Directors to help keep our initiatives moving forward. There have never been more challenges in our industry, and we all have a lot to gain by working together to be sure the surf, skate and snowboard business stays strong.” In addition to this change, the Association also shared the news that Mike Duncan will step down from his position as President at the end of 2016. After founding the organization with Surf Expo’s Roy Turner, Duncan has run the Association for over 13 years.  He will remain a key resource for the organization and join its Board of Directors. “It has been an honor and a privilege to be a founding member and serve as the President of this remarkable... read more

Top 5 Highlights of Surf Expo 2016

Last week marked another successful bi-annual Surf Expo in Orlando, Florida. Members of the Board Retailers Association and over 2,500 booths of apparel and goods came together for three full days of exciting events! Featuring demos, fashion shows, education seminars, award ceremonies, and more, Surf Expo is one of the largest trade shows in the nation. BRA continues to attend this well-organized event, walking away more impressed each time. Although there are so many aspects to rave about on this tradeshow, here are a few qualities that really stood out to us at Surf Expo this year. Layout and Organization – Easy to Navigate Upon entering one of the largest convention centers in America, it could be easy to become overwhelmed. However, the smooth layout of this trade show was very well-organized and easy to navigate. The areas of the convention center were organized by the category of products, such as surf, wind, boating, boutiques, SUP, skate, and beyond. As you went down the escalator to enter into the abyss of exhibitors, you could clearly see the structure of the setup from above. All 9,500+ storefronts had their own booth for showcasing their products, and the fluid flow of the floor plan was ideal. Seminars and Education The best and the brightest in the industry attend Surf Expo each year, bringing vast amounts of knowledge to the attendees. There were a variety of educational and entertaining seminars, including seminars on working with Amazon and social media marketing and SEO by BRA President, Mike Duncan. In addition, seminar topics ranged from e-commerce to paddle boarding to surfboards, etc. It’s safe... read more

Does Your Lease Expire in 2017?

The time to start on lease renewals and relocations is 12 months in advance. Getting started early gives you the most leverage in your negotiations, while waiting too long to start the negotiation can potentially cost you money. Even if you’re not looking to relocate your existing store, many store owners don’t realize how much money they can save just by renegotiating their current lease. As a member of the Board Retailers Association, you have access to the elite, cost-free real estate services that ESR Commercial has to offer. We will review lease documents, handle the negotiation process from start to finish, and ensure that you are getting the best deal in any location, all at no cost to you! Whether you’re looking to open a new store, expand your business, relocate an existing store, or renegotiate your current lease, ESR Commercial is your dedicated, cost-free, real estate resource. Please call or email Richard Aries at (818) 802-4730 or or Garrett Aries at (818) 519-5040 or or visit our website at... read more

5 Things to Check Out at Surf Expo 2016

It’s almost here! Surf Expo 2016 kicks off tomorrow for another year of the largest and longest-running board sport and beach/resort lifestyle trade show in the world. With the best and brightest industry vendors in attendance, an array of intriguing speakers, and endless exhibits to visit, this event is guaranteed to be a success! Here are just a few things that we are excited to see and do: Demo Day Surf Expo’s Annual Demo Day takes place the day before the tradeshow kicks off! Demo Day allows retailers the opportunity to have face-to-face interactions with SUP, Wakeboard, Kayak, and Canoe market leaders. Demo new products before they hit the market! 2500+ booths Attendance records will be broken at this year’s Surf Expo! More than 2500 booths will be displaying incredible products that will definitely add value to the watersports industry. In fact, more than 250 new brands will be featured at the tradeshow. Buyers will be in heaven as they get first dibs on the newest coastal products to hit the market. 9500+ store fronts Easily find what you are looking for at Surf Expo 2016! The event will feature nine different categories of products, including: swimwear, resort, surf, wake, wind, skate SUP, kayak/canoe, boutique, footwear, coastal gift, and performance. With over 9,000 store fronts under one roof, you are sure to find products that will exceed your expectations. 27,600+ attendees Surf Expo 2016 is the industry’s largest trade show in the world, with exhibitors and buyers attending from all over the world. This event is also a trade only event and not open to the general public. Therefore,... read more

How to Start a Twitter Chat for Retailers

Why can’t people just hang up and hang out? Many assume that with the rise of the smart phone comes the fall of actual human interaction. But that might not always be the case, especially with engaging and educational social media features like Twitter chats. Twitter chat allows users to schedule discussions with other Twitter users through a shared hashtag. This creates an online space where questions can be answered, conversation can be started, and loyal relationships can be built. At the touch of a finger, a simple hashtag can lead you directly into a targeted conversation topic. Because the hashtag for each chat is topic-specific, this can add tremendous value and growth to your business. Not only will a successful Twitter chat increase your social media following, it will also allow an opportunity to build community building and get helpful feedback. You can start your own Twitter chat with just a few simple steps: Plan Ahead Prior to the chat, ensure that you have a clear idea of what you hope the conversation will accomplish. Set your own professional goals, and make certain that it will benefit your consumers too. Pick Your Topic Choose a conversation topic that is relevant to both your business and your audience. Make it industry-related, packed with questions for your followers. This will give them a chance to provide helpful ideas and feedback. It is important that the topic you choose appeals to your listeners and generates an open discussion. Choose a Hashtag The hashtag that you choose will be the door for people to enter your discussion. An ideal Twitter chat hashtag... read more

3 Labor Day Tips for Your Small Business

Even though September may seem light years away, it’s actually much closer than you think—especially for retailers and small business owners. Labor Day falls on September 5th this year, which means one of our biggest weekends is fast approaching. To maximize your profits and end the summer with a bang, there are a number of things you can and should do. Even if you’ve already got your sales plan on lockdown, the following three tweaks can make a big difference. Try them out, and let us know what you think! Give Your Best Customers Something Extra Anyone can offer an additional 25% off the sales rack or a free gift with every purchase. While these are great promotions, offering something extra specifically for your most loyal customers is an excellent way to get them in the store and say thanks. Send a special email to your newsletter list with an exclusive, in-store promotion, and make it something good. This will motivate them to stop at your store when they’re scouring for sales, and will make them feel like a VIP customer, building even more loyalty. Deck the Halls (and the Windows) A holiday is a cause for celebration, so don’t hold back when it comes to décor! Decorate your store, especially your window displays, and encourage your employees to wear patriotic colors. Labor Day is traditionally a fun holiday, meant to honor America’s workforce and thank them for a job well done. This means it’s okay to take a fun, lighthearted approach to the long weekend. Don’t Limit Yourself to the Store If you’re a small business, you’re probably... read more

4 Ways to Make a Shoppable Instagram 

Right now, one of the best social media platforms for your business is Instagram. A visual network with outstanding engagement, it’s a great place to connect with customers and build brand awareness. The only downside is that Instagram doesn’t allow users to sell directly on the platform. The best you can do is direct people to the link in your bio and hope they find the product you’re featuring in your image. Since Instagram’s inception, this has been an awkward reality for businesses, which is why a number of startups have decided to develop alternatives that make Instagram shoppable. Below are four companies that have created effective solutions for fairly low monthly fees. Check them out, experiment, and see which one works best for you. Like2Buy Like2Buy was created by marketing tech company Curalate. According to their website, Like2Buy “makes it easy for consumers to buy from Instagram by connecting engagement with Instagram videos and images to traffic and revenue—instantly.” This is accomplished by using the one live link Instagram allows (in your bio) to link to a gallery of shoppable images that are ecommerce-enabled through your online store. Have2Have.It Have2Have.It is similar to Like2Buy. It creates a link that takes your followers to a shoppable, curated page that has the same look and feel of your business’s Instagram feed. The only difference is that this one is allows them to tap the images for direct links to the products they love, driving customers directly to your ecommerce platform. Popular among fashion bloggers, embeds product credits with an affiliate link. As soon as a user “likes” a photo... read more

How Does a Good Deal Become Great?

by BRA Associate Partner, ESR Commercial ESR Commercial’s strategy is to know what is going to be thought and said 3 conversations in advance. Even before the first call or email, we’re planning on what we’re going to say the next time we speak, and how the person on the other end is going to take what we say and respond to it. It’s knowing when to push and when to step back – something that only comes with many years of experience. Everyone looking to open a store knows the basic, obvious items that make a deal better – cheaper rents, free rent periods, and tenant improvement money. But only those more experienced in the real estate world know the additional factors that can push the deal over the edge into “great deal” territory. These things can include economic factors like the landlord being responsible for part or the entire A/C unit, little or no personal guaranty, and different allocations of security deposits, among hundreds of other options that go into each lease. In one deal in Lexington, Kentucky, the landlord asked for 6 months of security deposit because the owners didn’t have any experience. Because we had done so much business with that landlord in the past, we knew that he would accept 2 months security deposit, with a third month to be applied to the 13th month’s rent. We know that upfront capital is very important to our clients, especially those who are opening up new stores, and saving 4 month’s worth of rent can go a long way into developing any small business. In another deal... read more
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