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

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

“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...
“HOW TWO SHOPS ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE PANDEMIC” by LARRY LANZA via JENKEM MAG

“HOW TWO SHOPS ARE WORKING TOGETHER TO MAKE IT THROUGH THE PANDEMIC” by LARRY LANZA via JENKEM MAG

It’s no secret that, prior to the pandemic, one of the greatest things about a skateshop was its fixture as a hub for the community, serving as a place to hang out, talk shit, and ask for a pivot cup or spare bearing or something. But with the shutdowns, shops have to find new ways to keep their local skaters and new customers hyped on the shop and invested in their survival.Gary Smith, the owner of Vù Skate Shop in Baltimore, and Ben Jones, owner of Kinetic Skate Shop in Wilmington, just 60-minutes apart from one another, recently released a shop collaboration deck and shirt. Two shops working together on a joint promotion is extremely rare in the skate biz, even though skaters will collab with just about anything. The ongoing pandemic has put skate shops in a weird place because, even though their storefronts are closed, they are still selling boards, more than ever before in some cases. There’s no set business model in place to weather a pandemic, but shops like Vù and Kinetic coming together to support one another gives one way forward for shops struggling to make it alone. This is one of the few times we’ve seen shops collaborate like this, where did the idea come from? Ben: Gary told me about this maybe three years ago. It was one of the coolest ideas I’ve ever heard. Especially since owning a skate shop has changed in the years that we’ve both been doing it. When we first started doing this, I feel like there were more rivalry between the shops. Now, we’re all friends and we’re all in the same fight together....
“MY DOORS ARE CLOSED…..NOW WHAT??” by BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Dave Seehafer of Global Wave Ventures

“MY DOORS ARE CLOSED…..NOW WHAT??” by BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Dave Seehafer of Global Wave Ventures

(aka how to stay stoked during these crazy times!)In the past couple of weeks, I’ve had numerous conversations with specialty retailers across the nation to brainstorm ways to keep revenue flowing, customers happy, employees paid and much more. Here are a few ideas that may help you during these unprecedented challenges: –COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CUSTOMERS—keep them coming to you!Send messages to keep them stoked and positive via email, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, direct mailAnnounce the “special” services that you are offering i.e. free local board delivery, free t-shirt with any online purchase, etc. Create online videos of new products arriving in the store, review of latest surfboard or finsPartner with local gym, physical therapist, yoga studio on how to stay in shape for surfing/paddlingRaffle off a high-ticket (but slow moving) item—surfboard, paddleboard, paddle, wetsuit –DO A PHYSICAL INVENTORYCompare/update physical numbers to those on your POS systemIdentify products to go on sale –REVIEW/UPDATE POS/POP SYSTEMUpdate, correct any numbers, based on physical inventoryCreate a 1 page “hot sheet” which identifies top sellers, slow movers, low inventory levels –REVIEW ALL PENDING ORDERS NOT YET RECEIVEDRevamp 2nd quarter sales projections, and adjust open-to-buy accordinglyAdjust ship dates or cancel orders if necessary –RE-MERCHANDISE THE STOREGreat time for new paint, more lighting, revamped dressing rooms, expanded window displayMove racks around—move departments around—make it look new and fresh! –DEVELOP NEW ART/LOGOS FOR YOUR PRIVATE LABEL GOODSGood time to focus on high quality, high margin productsAdd a new category –DO SOME EMPLOYEE TRAININGCreate “what if” scenarios and have them act them out with each otheri.e. how to handle refunds, how to upsell without pressure, how to cross-merchandisekey questions...
“BRA Regional Retailer Roundtable Highlight Reel (SHACC Nov 2019)” filmed and edited by Noah Schuler

“BRA Regional Retailer Roundtable Highlight Reel (SHACC Nov 2019)” filmed and edited by Noah Schuler

Such an outstanding event.  Massive thanks to the Distinguished Panel and Supporting Event Partners including Surfing Heritage and Culture Center, Locally, Solite Boots, Action Watch, Exchange Collective and Sambazon as well as all of the Retailers, Brands and Vendors that attended this outstanding Regional Retailer Roundtable Event.  Check out the Highlight Reel by clicking below.  Filmed and Edited by Noah Schuler. The next BRA Regional Roundtable will happen at Surf Expo in the Learning Lounge on January 9, 2020 at 4 pm.    For additional details on this and other upcoming BRA events, click:...
“BRA Releases Recap Video of Retailer Roundtable” (SHACC Nov 2019 – Filmed and edited by Noah Schuler)

“BRA Releases Recap Video of Retailer Roundtable” (SHACC Nov 2019 – Filmed and edited by Noah Schuler)

The Board Retailers Association (BRA), a non-profit organization representing independently owned surf, skate, snow, sup and wake retailers, announces the release of the Recap video that showcases the recent BRA Regional Retailer Roundtable Event which was held earlier this month at the Surfing Heritage and Culture Center (www.shacc.org) in San Clemente. Noah Schuler of Schuler Films captured, edited and produced this remarkable recap video: BRA would like to sincerely thank Glenn Brumage and the epic staff at Surfing Heritage and Culture Center for hosting the event as well as each of the Supporting Event Partners including Solite Boots, Exchange Collective, Locally, Action Watch and Sambazon.  Board sport specialty retailers from throughout Southern California and beyond as well as board sport related manufacturers and trade organizations participated in this open forum solutions-oriented discussion about the issues and opportunities facing our industry today and in the future. This event marked the first of many BRA Regional Retailer Roundtables, which will serve as a template for more of these discussions throughout the country (in addition to trade shows) on how the manufacturers and retailers can work together to continue to support the board sports that we are all passionate about. Southern California is the epicenter of board sport culture and Surfing Heritage and Culture Center served as the ideal location for this initial event. BRA Chairman, George Leichtweis of Modern Skate & Surf, moderated a panel of key manufacturers reps and BRA retailers / Board members. The distinguished group of panelists included Coco Tihanyi (Surf Diva and BRA), Sean Smith (SIMA), Teddy Schiavoni (Locally and former Chairman of National Ski and Snowboard Retailers Association),...