Roy Turner at Surf Expo turned me onto this interesting read about company or manufacturer stores versus independently owned specialty shops.
Basically the article states that both company stores and independents can co-exist in the market place and that company stores typically charge more for their goods then they retail in a specialty shop, therefore giving the independent the competitive advantage. I guess the idea is that company stores naturally price themselves out of the market (which makes no sense as a business model). There is also some discussion around whether independent shops benefit from location when a nearby company store spends mucho dollars on marketing. The article is pro co-existence of company and independent stores. No matter your opinion, it is an interesting read none-the-same.