Board Retailers Association Announces New Chairman: Todd Canipe of Vertical Urge

“Skateboarding, snowboarding, and surfing are a lifestyle. Participants are part
of something bigger than themselves.”
– Todd Canipe, Vertical Urge

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (June 30, 2014) — The Board Retailers Association (BRA), a non-profit organization representing more than 600 independently owned surf, skate, snow and wake retailers, is pleased to announce that it has elected a new Chairman for the 2015-2017 term. Todd Canipe of Vertical Urge will replace Bruce Cromartie of BC Surf and Sport and Coco Tihanyi of Surf Diva Boutique, who have served since 2012. Both Bruce and Coco will retain their positions as Members of the BRA Board of Directors.

“With so much change happening in the industry we need passionate leaders, and I am thrilled that Todd will be taking the reins,” said Cromartie. “Being Co-Chairs with Coco has been an incredible experience. It’s been a privilege to be able to partner with colleagues and peers to effect change in the industry.”

Adds Tihanyi, “There’s a new surge of energy in the marketplace focused on getting back to the lifestyle, and I know Todd will be a perfect fit to continue to move the Association forward.”

BRA’s focus has always been on its education programs, offering exclusive member services, and establishing new ways for retailers to thrive. “Bruce and Coco have been integral players in BRA achieving its goals through their support and passion over the past two years,” said Mike Duncan, President of BRA. “More importantly, they served as great advisors to the entire membership. We are confident they will continue to serve as both advisors and liaisons with the manufacturers with whom they’ve built such good rapport. I know I speak on behalf of them and the rest of the membership when I say that we are excited to welcome Todd as the new voice of BRA.”

As owner of Vertical Urge in Raleigh NC, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary, Canipe is focused on ensuring a positive experience for the customer and prides himself on strong relationships with manufacturers, and peer retailers. “I couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity. I believe I’m a very strong representative of the core BRA constituency,” says Canipe. “We have one store, a small but successful website, and 100% of our graphic design, web design and social media are handled in house. We support one of the best shop skate teams on the east coast and have produced and released two shop videos. I’m eager to use my experiences to further enhance our member’s businesses while continuing to develop and add to our industry partnerships.”

Canipe will officially transition into the role of BRA Chairman in September and will be focusing on nurturing the BRA goals of educationboth for customers and peer retailersand providing a voice for the specialty retailers who remain at the front lines of the industry. Over the next two years, BRA plans to continue to grow its education programs, enhance its member services, and attract new members and partners to its community. BRA also fosters a constant flow of conversation between independent retailers and manufacturer representatives, yielding new ideas and inspiration for the industry.

About Board Retailers Association (BRA)

The Board Retailers Association (BRA) is a non-profit trade association representing over 3,500 action sport storefronts across the country. The association serves as the preeminent voice for independent retailers on a grassroots level with manufacturers, trade show representatives, and other associations. BRA also works to provide educational resources and exclusive discounts and savings from vendors on the day-to-day costs of business. For a complete explanation and description of Retail or Associate Member benefits, visit 

About Todd Canipe, Vertical Urge

With a love of skate from the age of 10, Canipe had the chance to put his passion to work when he took a summer job during college with John McKay, owner of local surf shop, Aloha Surf & Sports.  The following winter, the duo drafted a business plan for Vertical Urge, a new concept that was focused on snowboarding & skateboarding, as well as footwear and street wear, which were emerging categories at the time.  Fast forward to 2004 and the opening of a 750 square foot space that quickly evolved into 6500 square feet of retail space for Vertical Urge and 10,000 square feet dedicated to an indoor skate park called Project 58.  In 2013, just after the 20th anniversary, focus was shifted solely on to Vertical Urge’s retail space, including a full store renovation. Enduring the inherent challenges that come with the industry, a primary factor being weather on the snow side, Canipe maintains his primary goal of ensuring Vertical Urge provides offerings that are special enough to still be “specialty” and giving customers an experience that is unique each time they walk through the door. Awards for Vertical Urge include Transworld Business Regional Retailer of the Year for 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012, Best Damn Shop Contest (an east coast, shop based skateboard contest) in 2006 and 2008.