BRA’s New Chairman and New Future

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...

Retailer Spotlight: Surf Diva Boutique

Surf Diva Boutique in La Jolla, California has introduced women of all ages to the sport and spirit of surfing in a fun and encouraging environment.  Twin sisters and partners Izzy and Coco are proud to have turned their life-long passion into a successful and growing business—and have a ton of fun doing it. We were lucky to catch up with both of them at Surf Summit 17 earlier this year in Cabo and, as always, loved their energy and passion. Here, co-owner and buyer Coco Tihanyi chats with us about specialty brands, community involvement, and the importance of doing what you love. What makes your store unique? Surf Diva is unique because of the whole experience our customer receives when they enter our shop; from the greeting at the door to the authentic customer service our Shop Divas offer! I liked to carry core surf brands and more “boutiquey” brands so that the shop is a one-stop shop. We own 3 really cool surf schools so we are able to make sure customers leave with a really great surfing or standup paddleboarding experience, depending on what type of program they are looking for: Surf Diva Surf School, La Jolla Surf Camp, and the American Surf Academy. What’s your most memorable or proudest moment in the (water, snow, etc.)? I love having our board meetings with my sister in the water.  It’s just awesome!  I also love going out into the water with my son and watching him try new surfboards… priceless. What brands are impressing you or incorporating out of the box designs or promotions that have caught...

Board Retailers Association: Specialty Retail Trends

As a retailer, you’ve been mulling over the multitude of articles with the same topics and trends. The data seems to go back and forth, with interpretations across the board. Our ongoing conversations with the Board and our members inspired us to think more and more about the state of the industry–and just what all of this means to specialty retailers. Showrooming Showrooming is the practice of browsing in-store and then buying at a lower price online. The threat to brick-and-mortars is real, of course, and perhaps even more real to smaller business, but merchants are really rising to the challenge. Based on our conversations, retailers recognize that showrooming is something that needs to be accepted and adapted to. Retailers are determining which items are susceptible to showrooming, and then ensuring that they have consistent pricing and promotions. Some retailers are also training staff members to deal with showrooming scenarios accordingly, and are managing them to be salespeople – not clerks. Omnichannel retail Retailers are arming themselves with various ways to reach consumers in real-time: through all available shopping channels, mobile internet devices, computers, brick-and-mortar, television, radio, local advertising, and so on. Omnichannel retailing is the evolution of multi-channel retailing, but focused more on a seamless approach to the consumer experience. Retailers are creating digital shopping experiences in-store and building cooperative partnerships with nearby businesses. They’re ensuring that their websites are mobile friendly and responsive. Social media is being used to build community and engage with consumers, and retailers are focusing on customer service across all channels to build brand loyalty. Retailers are also realizing how important it is...

Retailer Spotlight: Todd Canipe

Todd Canipe is the owner and operator of Vertical Urge, North Carolina’s leading resource for all things skateboarding and snowboarding. We had a great time chatting with Todd, and asked him to answer a couple questions about his store, the store’s vibe and how his personal lifestyle ties into professional. Check out his answers below. What pulls you into a store? For me it’s a combination of things. It could be the window display, or even the typeface choices of their logo. We do all of our own graphic design work in house, so I fancy myself an amateur graphic designer. (HA!) I’m always appreciative of the little things a store makes to set them apart from the pack. What makes Vertical Urge unique?  Combination of things, really. Our large footprint gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of merchandising, etc. We ran the area’s best indoor skate park for a decade (it closed its doors last August), so we had a veritable three ring circus going for a long time. We were constantly putting resources into the park, even though it was losing money, trying to make sure our scene was as healthy as possible. Funniest thing you’ve heard at work? We hear it all the time: “Is this all you have?” Even a store our size—over 7000 square feet—has to hear that a few times a week. It used to bother the hell out of me, now I just laugh it off and be as helpful as I can. If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be? Jake Burton, hands...

Retailer Spotlight: Todd Canipe

Todd Canipe is the owner and operator of Vertical Urge, North Carolina’s leading resource for all things skateboarding and snowboarding. We had a great time chatting with Todd, and asked him to answer a couple questions about his store, the store’s vibe and how his personal lifestyle ties into professional. Check out his answers below. What pulls you into a store? For me it’s a combination of things. It could be the window display, or even the typeface choices of their logo. We do all of our own graphic design work in house, so I fancy myself an amateur graphic designer. (HA!) I’m always appreciative of the little things a store makes to set them apart from the pack. What makes Vertical Urge unique?  Combination of things, really. Our large footprint gives us a lot of flexibility in terms of merchandising, etc. We ran the area’s best indoor skate park for a decade (it closed its doors last August), so we had a veritable three ring circus going for a long time. We were constantly putting resources into the park, even though it was losing money, trying to make sure our scene was as healthy as possible. Funniest thing you’ve heard at work? We hear it all the time: “Is this all you have?” Even a store our size—over 7000 square feet—has to hear that a few times a week. It used to bother the hell out of me, now I just laugh it off and be as helpful as I can. If you could trade places with anyone for a day, who would it be? Jake Burton, hands...

An Instagram Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words

Digitally savvy consumers are entering stores already well informed about a product’s features and prices. They are building communities and relationships online, which has retailers focusing more in the e-commerce and social media realm. It’s more important than ever to ensure that initiatives and efforts across all platforms of the customer experience work together: customer service, brand/marketing communications, brick-and-mortar stores, social, and e-commerce platforms. In terms of marketing communications, storytelling has been one of the most effective strategies to date. People love stories, and love the stories they can relate to even more. Short- and long-form blogging works wonders, and with the onset of new social trends and development of new mobile and social apps, visual storytelling has moved its way up to the front of the fold. We’ve witnessed the exponential growth of Instagram: 1 million accounts in just two months after its launch in 2010, and now the visual platform boasts over 150 million monthly active users. People and personalities are finding clever ways to express themselves, and brands are incorporating the platform into their outreach strategies. Retailers should take the time to make the right decisions about where to invest change, but we’re loving the images that are coming from Sweetwater Surf Shop in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. They’re doing an awesome job on Instagram and have cultivated a following through engagement, and have the rhythm, content, and variation that converts into sales. They’ve got this down pat. Retailers are building brand value through tangible, person-to-person relationships that begin and grow well before customers walk through the door. Creating a social presence for your business enhances...