It is the majority opinion of the Board Retailers Association’s membership that specialty retailers need to work together with manufacturers to eliminate the sale and distribution of blank skate decks.
By definition, BRA retailers do not consider shop boards to be blank skate decks or blank boards because like manufacturers, specialty retailers sponsor teams, flow product and support demos and events.
Together, retailers and manufacturers need to promote pro and shop boards as more than just the paint, logo and graphics they entail. Skate decks represent the lifestyle, history and passion of this sport. They are the basis for which ads are bought, articles are written and heroes are made.
It is the responsibility of manufacturers, distributors and retailers to eliminate “cheap” product and promote quality equipment that can maintain a higher margin and a better return on investment. We need to promote the safety durability, and responsiveness of a quality board vs. a cheap blank both in manufacturers’ ads and specialty retail education.
Retailers acknowledge the need to show pride in their shop’s image, reputation and contribution to the skate industry by maintaining retail prices on shop decks within a reasonable range of typical manufactured deck prices. Manufacturers can help retailers reach this market balance by cutting unnecessary expenses and reducing the “cost” of their boards. By allowing retailers to make a better margin on their products, manufacturers would reduce the incentive to promote shop decks.
With that said, there is great concern by BRA’s membership that distributors and manufacturers exhibit very little scrutiny on who is allowed to sell skateboarding product. Whether it be a chain store, a “box store,” or just anyone with a checkbook wanting to open a specialty retail skate shop, there needs to be boundaries and limitations on distribution so that specialty retailers are not driven to carry blank boards as an alternative to compete in an over-saturated marketplace.
BRA would like to continue working together with IASC and skate manufacturers to resolve these issues and maintain the health of the skate industry. We plan to keep the lines of communication open so that we can better understand each other’s concerns and work together collectively on continuing to turn the world on to the sport that we are so passionate about.