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Specialty Retailers and the Board Sports Lifestyle
Surf | Skate | Snow | SUP | Wake

“How To Get Employee Sales Training To Stick” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Customers go online to buy – frequently replacement purchases – but go to stores to discover. That moment of discovery needs to be crafted, trained, and rewarded because customers respond to a human trusted advisor more deeply than to any webpage. These days the decision between a shopper choosing to visit your store over an online competitor lies in your employees’ ability to know exactly what to say, when to say it, and how to make it count. I call it a branded shopping experience. With fewer employees on your sales floor and shoppers returning to physical stores, you can’t let your retail staff wing it over and over again and expect to survive. While the history of retail was built on product knowledge, today that former ace in the hole is available online. You know yourself, you start the search for something worth more than a few bucks on the web to learn as much as you can, uncover reviews, and compare offers. The ace in the hole for physical stores now must be how to engage strangers. And if those employees can’t talk to strangers, how will they ever use any of their product knowledge to sell your goods? They won’t. And the merchandise will sit until it is marked down. Discover how to create a winning retail sales strategy here So if your training is not focused on people knowledge first but is solely focused on product knowledge, you’re missing the boat. The skills of engaging a stranger is not intuitive nor is it easy. 80% of shoppers entering your store have already researched the features of your products online. And the other 20% will do it on... read more

“Teenagers Win All 3 Medals In Women’s Street Skateboarding Event” by Leila Fadel via NPR

Momiji Nishiya of Team Japan celebrates during the Women’s Street Final on day three of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games on Monday at Ariake Urban Sports Park. Patrick Smith/Getty Images TOKYO — Thirteen-year-old Momiji Nishiya dazzled during the Olympic women’s skateboarding street competition. She skated through a park of rails, ramps and stairs meant to mimic city street parks at the Ariake Urban Sports Park. When she finished, she became Japan’s youngest-ever gold medal winner and one of the youngest Olympic champions of all time. Nishiya shared the podium with two other teenagers. It “could very well be the youngest Olympic podium ever,” the official Olympics news outlet says. Nishiya’s win also sealed Japan’s domination of the street competition. It debuted at these Summer Olympics and organizers hope it infuses the global sports event with youthful energy. In fact, half of the women in the eight-skateboarder final were 16 or younger. Brazil’s Rayssa Leal, a few months younger than Nishiya, took silver. Another Japanese skateboarder Funa Nakayama, 16, won bronze. Nishiya’s victory came the day after Japan’s Yuto Horigome, 22, took the gold in the men’s street competition. The sport is one of several new games at the Olympics this year including surfing, three on three basketball and rock climbing. NPR is an independent, nonprofit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public. Every day, NPR connects with millions of Americans on the air, online, and in person to explore the news, ideas, and what it means to be human. Through its network of member stations, NPR makes local stories national, national stories local, and global... read more

“A Son of Tokyo Wins Skateboarding’s First Gold” by John Branch via The New York Times plus highlight video of the finals courtesy of NBC Sports

Yuto Horigome of Japan landed three tricks in a row to claim his gold medal. Credit…Alexandra Garcia/The New York Times Yuto Horigome won gold in the men’s street competition only eight miles from where he grew up, and after Nyjah Huston fell four times in a row. TOKYO — With its street-riding roots, youthful vibe and full immersion into culture of all kinds, skateboarding was invited to the Olympics because its global reach could no longer be denied. But it only had to look across town for its first Olympic champion. Yuto Horigome, the 22-year-old son of a Tokyo taxi driver, had the gold medal for men’s street skateboarding draped around his neck on Sunday in an empty, sun-drenched skatepark about eight miles from where he grew up. Skateboarding: Men’s Street FinalRESULTGOLDYuto Horigome – Japan 37.18 ptsSILVERKelvin Hoefler – Brazil36.15 ptsBRONZEJagger Eaton – United States35.35 pts4Vincent Milou – France34.14 pts5Angelo Caro Narvaez – Peru32.87 pts6Aurelien  Giraud – France29.09 pts7Nyjah Huston – United States26.1 pts8Gustavo Ribeiro – Portugal15.05 pts With the venue’s grandstands left empty because of pandemic protocols, the biggest ovation he received was from the army of volunteers working at Ariake Urban Sports Park, who trailed him with enthusiastic applause. But the victory was sure to resonate. A few miles away, Horigome’s father, Ryota, the one who first taught Yuto how to ride, was too nervous to watch, even on television. He left the family’s third-floor apartment in an unassuming eastside neighborhood and went for a bicycle ride. Eventually, calls and messages poured into his phone. He knew what it meant. Yuto had won. And Japan, where skateboarding in... read more

“Kellen James and Jamie Palmore (KJP) | Hickman” via Transworld Skateboarding

Kellen James (owner of Arts and Rec Skate Shop) and Jamie Palmore come together for the first (and hopefully not the only) installment of the KJP (KJ + JP = KJP) series. First spot: Hickman. Guest appearances by:Jimmy Cao, Kyong Kim, Joe Blas, Marshall Heath, Chris LaRue, Adam Sullivan, and Mike Fitzgerald. Film and edit: Matthew Reyes Transworld Skateboarding is an excellent source of skateboarding news and related content. Be sure to bookmark: 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... read more

“NRF: Back-to-School Shopping to Reach Record Levels in 2021” by Melissa Campanelli via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by Max Riesgo Consumers plan to spend record amounts for both school and college supplies as families and students plan to return to in-person classrooms this fall, according to the annual survey released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and Prosper Insights & Analytics. Families with children in elementary through high school plan to spend an average of $848.90 on school items, which is $59 more than last year, according to the NRF. Total back-to-school spending is expected to reach a record $37.1 billion, up from $33.9 billion last year and an all-time high in the survey’s history. College students and their families plan to spend an average of $1,200.32, an increase of $141 over last year. Over half ($80) of this increase is due to increased spending on electronics and dorm furnishings. Total back-to-college spending is expected to reach a record $71 billion, up from $67.7 billion in 2020. About 43 percent of all shoppers said they will use government stimulus money to purchase items for school. According to the survey, as of early July more than half (51 percent) of K-12 and college shoppers have begun shopping for the items they will need when classes resume later this year. However, the vast majority (76 percent) of K-12 shoppers were still waiting on lists for school supplies as of earlier this month. Total Retail’s Take: In other good news, the NRF said last week that retail sales saw solid growth during June, increasing in most categories on a monthly basis and across the board on a yearly basis as the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic continued.... read more

“10 Customer Service Techniques to Help You Grow Sales” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Customer service techniques should be at the top of your list when you consider how to increase sales in retail. While getting customers into your store comes first, their experience in the store is what makes the sale. Attracting visitors to your store through occasional promotions, events, and a killer website is a great start. But you need to convert those visitors into customers. That’s why focusing on improving customer service techniques in your retail staff can have an outsized influence on your revenue. There are a lot of in-store factors influencing a purchase decision. Things like well-appointed and serviced fitting rooms, sufficient mirrors, and visual merchandising can help create a shopping experience that makes customers want to buy your products at your regular prices. But the missing ingredient when it comes to the best retail customer service tips that influence sales has nothing to do with physical elements. It’s your people and their ability to make a connection with customers. Customer service is about communication and connection Connection is the most important factor in sales. It is the springboard for dialogue between shopper and salesperson. The rapport that follows is the stickiness that creates loyal customers. Look up the definition of rapport sometimes. Never mind, here it is: Rapport“A relationship characterized by agreement, mutual understanding, or empathy that makes communication possible or easy.” How often do you believe your customers leave your store feeling this way about their experience? How often do your customers feel like they had any relationship with the person who rang up their purchase? I’m guessing if you’re like most retailers, not often. The lost art of conversation Too many younger... read more

“Facebook rides into Tokyo Games with new skateboarding campaign” by Kendra Clark via The Drum

Just four days before the official kick-off of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Facebook has launched a new global ad campaign that showcases stories of how Facebook communities and technologies have helped bring together passionate skateboarders and skateboarding fans from across the globe — and advanced the sport itself. Facebook has today unveiled a new multichannel global ad campaign that aims to help people “change the game” with its platform and technologies. To run during NBC’s coverage of the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo, the spot celebrates Facebook’s vibrant skateboarding communities. This is the first year that skateboarding will be included in the Olympic Games. Brought to life by agency Droga5, the multi-app campaign includes creative for Facebook, Instagram, Facebook Blue App and Oculus. There are a total of four films, including one directed by pop-R&B icon FKA Twigs. “Facebook is proud to celebrate skateboarding and its athletes around the world, as the sport takes the global stage in Tokyo for the first time,” said Andrew Stirk, Facebook’s vice president of global company marketing, in a statement today. “Skateboarding is a grassroots sport and culture, centered around connection and community. This work celebrates the authentic stories of skaters using our platforms to find each other, broaden the culture, and push the sport forward.” Skateboarders and skateboarding fans have a notable presence across Facebook platforms. More than 34 million users follow skateboarding creators on Instagram, while Facebook is home to skateboarding groups and communities with over 5.7 million users. Ahead of the summer Olympics — which represents a major milestone for the sport — Facebook recognizes an opportunity to engage these... read more

“Gui Khury outshines Tony Hawk, lands 1080 to win X Games gold” via ESPN and USA Today

Push play to view the 1080 degree spinning that earned 12 year old Gui Khury X-Games Gold ESPN Article: Twenty-two years after Tony Hawk became the first skateboarder to land a 900 on a vert ramp at the X Games, Gui Khury made history of his own Friday night on Day 3 of the X Games in Vista, California. Khury, 12, became the first to land a 1080 on a vert ramp, winning the gold medal in the Vert Best Trick contest by besting eight others, including Hawk, who was a surprise entry at age 53. Khury became the youngest gold medalist in X Games history. Hawk, a 10-time gold medalist who hadn’t competed in the X Games since 2003, decided less than an hour before the competition that he would enter. The 18-year gap between X Games appearances is the largest in history. A victory in the Vert Best Trick, which is a gold-only event, would have made Hawk the oldest gold medalist in X Games history. USA Today Article: Gui Khury lands 1080 to win X Games gold medal Christian Ortega Competing against his childhood idol, Tony Hawk, Gui Khury dared himself to do something nobody had done before Friday night on Day 3 of the X Games in Vista, California. The 12-year-old dropped down the vert ramp, gained some air and then let physics take over as he rotated 1080 degrees and became the first skater to land the trick on a non-mega ramp. Hawk embraced Khury who was wiping tears from his face.  Khury became the youngest gold medalist in X Games history. He beat eight other... read more

“Why Contactless Payments Are the Future of Brick-and-Mortar Retail” by Bobby Marhamat via Total Retail

Credit: Getty Images by dowell The future always promises uncertainty. That said, all indications are that contactless payments are ingrained in brick-and-mortar retail for the long haul. Without massive unforeseen disruption, the COVID-assisted trend towards cashless, fully contactless checkout will gain further momentum. The 1,000 customers we surveyed in our State of Contactless Payments 2021 Report only confirmed our belief in contactless payments as an essential feature of retail businesses. Eighty-three percent of those customers have used contactless payments in the past 12 months. Furthermore, 57 percent will choose a business with contactless payment channels over a competitor without contactless payment options. We know that health is one driver of contactless payments. Mastercard, which has a crystal-clear view of consumer payment habits, saw a 40 percent increase in shoppers’ contactless payments amid the pandemic. We also know convenience is swaying customers to embrace contactless. Our data suggests that consumers have no plans of ditching contactless payment methods, even post-pandemic. Pandemic or no pandemic, shoppers like the convenience that tap-and-go, mobile wallets, apps, and other contactless channels provide. We firmly believe that contactless payments are the future of buying. We have the numbers to back it up. Related story: The Store of the Future: How to Evaluate the Value of Autonomous Technologies Customers Are Using Contactless Payments, and Nobody’s Forcing Them to The 83 percent of customers who used contactless payment channels in the past year did so under their own volition. Nobody forced them, and yet they chose to go contactless. Critics might say, “big deal, they tried contactless once. People will try anything once.” It’s a fair point. However, as we dug deeper into the data, we... read more

“#PassTheHandle is this Sunday, July 18th!” via WSIA Newsletter

The purpose of #PassTheHandle is to introduce new people to towed water sports. Participants leave feeling energized and eager to get back out on the water.The #PassTheHandle project is a national awareness-driven initiative created by legendary wakeboarders Shaun Murray and Zane Schwenk. The concept is simple: Find a friend who has never tried towed water sports (or perhaps has been focused on only one discipline) and teach them something new. Take a wakeboarder out for a trick ski session. Have a wakesurfer try out a disc. Help us spread the word on social media with these graphics: Ideas for how you can share the stoke… Community members, friends, friends-of-friends, neighbors, work friends, classmates and family could all be great participants for #PassTheHandle. Consider people in your local community, like the local Sheriff, law enforcement or fire fighters; people who work at your favorite coffee shop or store. Get Support Get a friend or talk to your local boat dealership to see if they will help in the boat—Either driving the boat while you coach, or vice versa. Life Jackets Adequate floatation and proper equipment is a must—The participant should be in a coast guard approved life jacket. Show the World Take lots of photos and videos, and post them with the hashtag #PassTheHandle and tag @wsiahq Coaching Tips: To not confuse participants, only one person should be coaching. The boat driver should follow the coach’s lead. Know your participant—Not every participant is going to feel comfortable on any apparatus. Let them get comfortable, start slow—give them an opportunity to get used to being behind the boat. Be patient. It’s important to... read more

“Outdoor Sports Insurance Highlights the Necessity for Board Retailers to Consider Network Security” via OSI (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

For years, Network Security Insurance (commonly referred to as Cyber Liability Coverage) waswidely regarded as a boutique coverage needed only by large corporations who store andprocess large volumes of consumer credit card information. In the later part of the last decade,however, this perception proved inaccurate when cyber-attacks on small to midsize businessesand retailers increased nearly 600%. Cyber extortion targeting small businesses now reignssupreme. The good news is, Outdoor Sports Insurance has access to a wide array of insurance marketsthat write cyber policies specifically for the small business owner. These policies are bothcomprehensive in protection and breach response services, and affordable in premium.Wrapped together with policies that cover the risks associated with snowboarding, surfing,skateboarding or any board sport, Outdoor Sports Insurance knows the market and has theproducts to fit any Board Retailer. By definition, a “cyber attack”, or “security breach”, refers to unauthorized access to the ITinfrastructure of a company by a third party (hacker) with the intent to corrupt, steal, or destroydata. The types of attacks hackers employ to achieve these ends runs a wide spectrum; Denialof Service (DoS), Phishing attacks, Password attacks and cross-site scripting attacks are just afew of the more common means by which hackers wreak havoc on a company’s network (andsubsequently the daily operation of the business itself). The most common attack, and by far the most damaging in terms of financial impact to victims,is the ransomware attack, commonly referred to as, “cyber extortion.” When a company hasbeen hit with a ransomware attack, malicious software infiltrates a portion, or all, of thecompany’s IT mainframe. As malware increases in sophistication and complexity, so, too, do theextortion... read more

“Vans Skateboarding Welcomes Zion Wright” via Press Release on Shop Eat Surf

Zion Wright earned himself a ticket to Tokyo. Courtesy of Vans Click on the following link to view the newsworthy press release from Vans via Shop Eat Surf: Vans Skateboarding Welcomes Zion Wright 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 already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Child tax credits an ‘underappreciated’ stimulus that could boost retail: Cowen” by Ben Unglesbee via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: This month, some 39 million households will begin receiving tax credit payments for each child under 18, a new relief program Cowen analysts called an “underappreciated catalyst for consumer spend” in a report this week.  The program, part of President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats’ American Rescue Plan passed earlier this year, comes as the back-to-school shopping season ramps up and could benefit numerous retailers.Aimed at reducing child poverty, the checks could boost spending at food retailers, including Walmart and Target, according to Cowen. Also in line to benefit are Amazon and other e-commerce players, off-price retailers, and apparel and footwear sellers, analysts said. Dive Insight: The nearly $2 trillion American Rescue Plan has already helped prop up retail sales with checks that went out to more than 160 million Americans earlier this year. Together with the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, the stimulus helped retailers across numerous sectors recover from the crisis year of 2020 when stores closed, the economy stumbled and customers avoided physical stores. The $150 billion child tax credit program that begins in July will add more cash to consumers’ pocketbooks. The payments total out to $3,600 per child under six per year, and $3,000 per child over age six for couples making up to $150,000 and single parents making up to $112,500. That sum is dispersed in monthly payments throughout the year. Chris Krueger of Cowen’s Washington Research Group called it a “huge policy change” that is “universal basic income for low-middle income parents.” The checks start rolling out as the back-to-school season ramps up. That could lift sales at softlines retailers, among others. Cowen analyst John Kernan said in the report that if... read more

“8 tips and tricks to improve your retail store marketing – If you’re struggling for ideas to improve your retail store marketing, we’ve got you covered. Here are some strategies that help you generate more leads.” via Podium (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

The world we live in is consumer driven and constantly changing. Enticing customers to your retail store with traditional marketing methods (or even online) is growing harder every year. Not only do 51% of Americans prefer to shop online, COVID-19 has moved many shoppers out of in-person store experiences and into their mobile devices for their retail needs.  If you’re struggling for ideas to improve your retail store marketing, we’ve got you covered. Check out these tips and tricks to attract more customers and improve your sales:  1. Use content marketing. Content marketing is the organic (rather than paid or promoted) use of social media to reach customers through the content you produce. 75% of consumers will increase their spending with a brand they follow on social media. Content marketing costs 62% less and generates 3x as many leads as traditional marketing.   Ideas for content should stem from problems or challenges your customers face and offer solutions they can implement fairly easily. A recipe blog or how-to videos or other content are great ways to connect with potential prospects and offer value at the same time. Great content marketing positions your brand (and your local store) as an expert in your industry and area.   2. Add product videos to your website. Video content tends to be more memorable, engaging, and shareable than other types of content. Nearly two-thirds of customers prefer watching a short video to learn about a product or service. 84% of consumers say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service by watching a brand’s video.  In addition to conveying helpful information, videos increase the time customers spend on your website and directly impact sales and positive... read more

“Retailers, Take These 9 Actions In Summer For Successful Winter Holiday Sales” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Christmas in July…or August. We’ve all heard the phrase but planning for successful holidays is more important. It’s summer and a lot of retailers need to be thinking about what they will do differently for the upcoming holidays. The good news is Covid is on the wane in the U.S. But with labor shortages and supply chain issues still impacting us for the foreseeable future, you can’t just hope you’ll have a better holiday season.  Even though the NRF is expecting a 10-13% jump in sales for 2021, the media will still be broadcasting how expectations are soft for retail sales this shopping season. To get your piece of the retail renaissance, take action now. Here are my top nine actions you need to take to have a successful holiday season. Clean out your stockroom.  A few years ago the FDA admitted that they found smallpox vials from the fifties in a walk-in cooler no one had regularly looked at. Old merchandise in your back room is just as deadly. Take a helper and remove every box, open it, sort it and throw out the junk. Put anything possibly salvageable on sale prior to Labor Day. Clean out your store. I’m talking about down to the fixtures here. Remove every box, bag, or tag. Sweep or mop every floor surface. Get your carpets cleaned. The whole goal is to look as new as possible. Repair, repaint and relight. Once everything is clean, notice the chipped paint, the broken furniture, the yellowed signage and fix them. Have someone take a razor blade to your glass surfaces and get rid of all those tape residues from mask and... read more

“Is Retail a Career?” by Arick Wierson via The Robin Report

As a four trillion dollar slice of the economy, retail is one of the largest employment sectors in the U.S. Prior to the pandemic, it provided direct and indirect employment to some 52 million workers, second only to the healthcare sector. Many of these jobs – as many as 30 percent of them – are comprised of the workers who staff brick-and-mortar store locations yet filling these frontline positions has become increasingly challenging in the post-pandemic era. Recruitment on the Rocks The Society for Human Resource Management, better known by its clunky consonant-laden acronym, SHRM (pronounced SHERM), was among the first to recognize that recruiting – particularly in high-touch sectors like retail – was going to be turned on its heads as America emerged from the throes of the pandemic. Much has been written about how the U.S. work landscape – Zoom calls and untethered workers – has been permanently upended by Covid-19, but for the frontline retail jobs that still require on-site human beings, not much has changed so far, and retailers are now finding it very difficult to make the hires needed to fuel their much-anticipated post-pandemic rebound. Why exactly this is the case is still an open debate and there is still much that remains unknown. Forget ‘help wanted;’ retail recruiting in a post-pandemic world should focus on career building. Economic Factors Many conservative policy makers in Washington and state capitols around the country have tended to blame government stimulus checks for nagging recruiting shortages even though such claims have been roundly debunked in study after study. BestBuy CEO Corrie Barry has offered that a lack of adequate childcare options and other issues stemming... read more

“Back-to-school shopping to rise 9% in 2021: KPMG” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: Back-to-school is just around the corner, and a recent KPMG survey of 1,000 consumers found that shoppers plan to spend $268 per child this year, an uptick from $247 per student in 2020. That’s an estimated increase of 9% for back-to-school spend this year.Spending for preschool (up 32%) and college students (up 13%) is expected to increase more than their middle school (up 3%) and high school (up 4%) counterparts, according to the report.Among the retail categories that shoppers are expected to spend on are footwear (21%), school supplies (16%) and apparel (14%). Consumers reported a lower likelihood of buying computers and study-related furniture, according to the report. Dive Insight: With summer in full swing, attention is shifting to the upcoming back-to-school season. The expected uptick in school supply spending is driven by the larger than average group of pre-schoolers and college students, the report noted.   Though shopping online for school-related items became more prevalent last year, more consumers are expected to shop in-store than online in 2021. Per KPMG’s findings, in-store school supply shopping has significantly decreased from pre-COVID levels, at an anticipated 57% (down from 66%), while online shopping is predicted to rise to 44% from 34% pre-pandemic. Higher-income parents appear to drive online spending, KPMG noted in its report. Parents earning more than $50,000 are more likely to shop online, but those with less income are more likely to shop in-store.  The predicted increase in back-to-school spending follows a relatively flat 2020. Per a Deloitte report, last year’s back-to-school shopping remained at $529 on average per household, but more than a third of shoppers’ budgets were devoted to online shopping. Store re-openings... read more

“Trek and Locally Hit the Road Together” by Mike Massey via

Consumer Behavior is Changing One of the most inescapable business themes of the past decade is the evolution of consumer shopping behavior. Nearly every business news story about consumers involves the application of new technology to everyday life. Whether it is something as simple as reserving a table for dinner or as complex as renting a vacation home in a foreign currency on the other side of the world, internet-based technologies have raised the bar for what’s expected in day-to-day commerce. Locally was founded by a group of retailers in 2013 to address the gap between what evolving consumers expect and what’s needed for local retailers and their suppliers to thrive. Identifying the Problem for Retailers When we read stories about how these changes have affected various industries, physical retail is often held up as an example of an industry that has failed to stay current with technology-based solutions. Stores have limited hours, significant physical location costs, a smaller assortments of merchandise, and usually require shoppers to get in a car and come to them. It’s easy to see why pundits would expect physical retail to be toppled by a more modernized shopping paradigm. Still, these issues are not insurmountable, and physical retail continues to play a major role in shopper behavior (arguably the largest). Stores like Apple and Lululemon that have combined digital and physical retail have absolutely thrived in recent years. It seems that having physical locations near customers is less of a problem than creating digital connections to shoppers. Locally has served as a natural extension of our business – and aligns perfectly with our goal... read more

“Digging Deeper Into Skate and Surf Participation Growth” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf (Executive Edition)

Please click on the following link to view this Shop Eat Surf News Article:  Digging Deeper Into Skate and Surf Participation Growth 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... read more

“Skateboarding as an Olympic sport has even some on Team USA feeling conflicted” by Phil McCausland via NBC News

Members of the first U.S. Olympic skateboarding team arrive on their boards for a news conference in downtown Los Angeles on June 21, 2021.Richard Vogel / AP “I think as a community, people were attracted to skateboarding because it was not part of something like the Olympics; it was not mainstream,” one expert said. For decades skateboarders have tossed on a beat up pair of sneakers and hunted for their town’s best skate spots. This month, however, eighty of the world’s best skaters will don sleek Olympic uniforms and look for judges’ point totals as skateboarding makes its debut as an Olympic sport in Tokyo. Some in the skateboarding community — including members of the U.S. national team — have mixed feelings about skating’s ongoing “sportification,” however, and have shared fears of further oversight and rigidity in a culture that values independence and self expression. USA’s first Olympic skateboarders: ‘It’s going to open doors’ AUG. 14, 201902:52 That dissonance echoes throughout skateboarding. Since becoming popular in Southern California in the 1960s, skateboarders have shaped film, fashion, music, video games, art, photography and writing. Tens of millions of skaters worldwide now make up a diverse and sought-after community — and a multibillion-dollar industry — while still remaining a counterculture powerhouse known for its rebellious inclinations. “I think as a community, people were attracted to skateboarding because it was not part of something like the Olympics; it was not mainstream,” said Ian Michna, the editor of Jenkem Magazine, a skateboarding and culture magazine. “It was more of an artistic activity you could do on your own independently and shape your own way, be your own... read more

“What If We Told You That You Could Protect Your New Surfboard Against Breaks And Dings…” via STAB Magazine

Well, you can. And it starts at just $10 a month.  Posted by: STAB What’s worse: breaking your new board first session, or watching every person you love getting mauled by a voracious pack of lions? Answer: the lions, but only just. New Board Anxiety is a serious medical condition that affects millions of surfers worldwide. If you or any surfer you know has suffered from this debilitating ailment, we present you with a viable (if only marginally costly) solution: Surfcare.  First and foremost, and despite how that intro read, this is not an advertisement. Or, I guess technically it is, but the crew at Surfcare didn’t pay a penny for it, so good on them for creating a product so inherently fascinating that we couldn’t help but write about it.  Second, Surfcare is exactly what it sounds like: AppleCare for your surfboard. It’s actual, genuine, real-life protection that you can buy as financial protection against a dinged or broken board.  Here are their available plans: Below we chatted with Nick Stolz, founder of Surfcare, to get more info on his product and see if the juice is truly worth the squeeze.  What inspired you to start this company? Well, I grew up breaking a ton of boards! Maybe I took that “stomp it” saying a little too literally [laughs]. I came up with the idea in Indonesia three years ago after running through a quiver at HTs. It’s a bad feeling when you spend a bunch of money on a new board and break it first session, or even at all. We all know the feeling. So Surfcare was... read more


Rookie Skateboards, a downtown Manhattan brand founded by Catharine Lyons and Elska von Hatzfeldt in the mid ’90s, has pioneered so much we see out of skating and streetwear today.While it’s not common to this day, it was even more of an anomaly to have a woman-founded skate company at the time when Rookie started. In that era, there were some supporters in the industry who were more open-minded.Like many trailblazing brands and people, Rookie didn’t think twice about supporting women and including them in the skateboarding scene. This piece was written by Jessie Van Roechoudt, a former Rookie team rider, to give us a look into the history and lasting impact of the company. This article was featured in Quell Skateboarding’s latest print issue, “The New York Issue,” and shared with us by out friends over at Quell HQ. Grab a copy of “The New York Issue” here. ROOKIE’S ORIGINS Catharine and Elska founded Rookie in 1996, and today people say Rookie Skateboards was ahead of its time – though it’s more appropriate to say that Rookie’s inclusive team roster, brand identity, and art direction were on point, and the rest of the skate industry just took 25 years to catch up. The catalyst for founding Rookie came about at an art show that was held at the base of the Brooklyn Bridge in the fall of 1995. The show featured a ramp, and the artist invited skaters to skate it as a sculpture in motion. The show was busy and chaotic – and pretty much impossible to even get near the ramp. Catharine and Elska asked the artist if they could come back... read more

“The Realities of Core Retail at a Time of Huge Demand” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Tim Kirkpatrick, the owner of Wavelines Surf Snow Skate in San Diego – Photo by SES Click on the following link to view this interesting Shop Eat Surf Article: The Realities of Core Retail at a Time of Huge Demand 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 already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Why BOPIS and BORIS Will Be the Cornerstone of Retail in 2021” by Dean Frew via Total Retail

The retail industry is a highly competitive, challenging and constantly evolving environment. Customer shopping behaviors are increasingly hard to predict, and retailers must constantly innovate or risk becoming redundant. The COVID-19 pandemic, which has heavily impacted the retail industry, is a prime example of this. Driven by technological advances, social and economic shifts, and a desire for expanding sales opportunities, rolling out omnichannel offerings has been key in enabling retailers to better serve their customers. Since the onset of COVID-19 and the ensuing lockdowns, effective omnichannel solutions are not just about having a competitive edge, they’re necessary to survive. BOPIS and BORIS in the Retail Revolution Buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and buy online, return in-store (BORIS) solutions have exploded in popularity as retailers try to drive traffic to their stores at a time when people are being encouraged to remain home when possible. Both BOPIS and BORIS are revolutionizing retail during its most challenging period, consolidating a hybrid shopping experience where customers can buy items online before picking them up in a physical store. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a phenomenon never seen before in the supply chain — a total emptying of the product pipeline during lockdowns and retail store closures, and then the corresponding restart of that substantial supply chain months later. BOPIS and BORIS solutions are increasingly seen as critical strategies required to help repopulate these rapidly emptied pipelines and supply chains to fulfill customer demand and encourage customer traffic. Both solutions allow retailers the opportunity to have heightened control over the overall customer experience. However, retailers will struggle to allow BOPIS and BORIS... read more

“Did you miss the live collaborative BRA X Management One webinar session this week? Not to worry, we recorded it for you!” (view it as well as the previous quarterly M1 webinar on-demand plus access downloadable retail tools here)

Yesterday, Board Retailers Association hosted the second of many relevant and helpful quarterly webinars on a variety of topics in collaboration with BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One. “Embracing the New Metrics in Retail: How To Ride the Wave of Post-Pandemic Success” Presented by Paul Erickson of Management One SPECIAL GUESTS: Doug Works of Board Retailers Association and Coco Tihanyi, BRA board member and co-owner of Surf Diva While no one was prepared for the severity of the impact from COVID-19, some businesses were able to better withstand the shutdown. The pandemic exposed overly leveraged retailers. Retailers with too much debt. Retailers with poor inventory management techniques. The good news is that it is possible to right the ship and develop new habits that will shield your business from future disruptions. As retail continues to evolve and adapt to changing consumer preferences and new technologies, it is increasingly critical to develop newer, more relevant metrics to accurately value and measure retail finances.   Our live Q&A included Paul Erickson of Management One along with Doug Works, Executive Director of Board Retailers Association and Coco Tihanyi, BRA board member and co-owner of Surf Diva to explore viewpoints from both sides of the equation.  Board Retailers Association kicked off the first of many relevant and helpful quarterly webinars on a variety of topics in collaboration with BRA Supporting Vendor Partner Management One on March 30, 2021. “Alan Roseman at Management One has been a great partner to have for my business. He helps not only manage inventory and cash flow but has proven to be a valuable consultant on marketing, expansion, hiring, advertising... read more

“Retail Sales Training: Ask This Question To Handle Objections” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

When looking to handle objections, you have to ask one more question to really get to the heart of the matter. You’ve heard me say the worst thing you can say when trying to sell something at the end of a sale is Anything Else?  That’s because you are closing the door on the customer’s interest. After a customer has decided on one item, a good salesperson would paint a picture of suggestively selling an additional item that goes with the first item the customer chose to purchase. Sometimes though, particularly with higher-priced retail sales, you can ask Anything else? to smoke out hidden objections.  Linda Abrams Fleming, a salesperson with Haynes Furniture in Virginia Beach, Virginia, shared the following story about refusing to give up on a customer by asking this one final question. She had engaged a woman who needed new carpeting for her home. Her pet had passed away and the carpet needed replacing. The shopper had not purchased new carpeting in over 10 years. They had a conversation about her lifestyle…she had just retired, was on a fixed income, had a new puppy, and lived alone.  Discover 12 Tips To Become Top Salesperson “Jane” fell in love with three products and Linda worked up an estimate. The price was much higher than Jane expected. Linda mentioned they had interest-free financing for 36 months but Jane wanted to pay for it at one time and not have a monthly bill. They looked for alternative products that would be less costly but Jane kept coming back to her original selections. As Linda tried to close the sale it became apparent Jane wanted... read more

“RIP: Greg Noll” via Surfing Heritage & Cultural Center (SHACC)

After a life very well lived, Greg Noll, big-wave pioneer, filmmaker, industry leader and inspiration to many, has passed away. “It is with a heavy heart the Noll family announces the death of our patriarch, Greg Noll. Greg died of natural causes on Monday June 28th, at the age of 84,” reads the statement released by his son Jed Noll. “We invite all of our friends and family to celebrate his life by sharing this post and your stories, pictures and experiences through your preferred platform. Aloha.” Born in San Diego on February 11, 1937, Greg Noll ranks among the most influential pioneers and entrepreneurs of the 1950s. At the age of three, his family fortuitously moved to Los Angeles’s South Bay. The young Noll started surfing at the age of 11, eventually becoming a member of the Manhattan Beach Surf Club where he learned board shaping from Dale Velzy. He was served as a Los Angeles County Lifeguard.   In 1954, a 17-year-old Noll moved to Hawaii. Initially posting up at Makaha, almost right away he felt at home in the big, challenging surf on the westside. “Those early years at Makaha are among the highlights of my life,” wrote Greg Noll. “Our quonset hut looked right out at the point. Our daily routine revolved around surfing, diving and fishing. If the surf was flat, we’d fish or dive. If there were waves, we’d surf. School came second…or third. I probably averaged a few days a week, just enough to get by.” By the winter of ’57 the attention had shifted to the North Shore, where Noll was among... read more

“‘We’re no longer a photo-sharing app,’ says head of Instagram” by Tatiana Walk-Morris via Retail Dive

Dive Brief: As multiple social media platforms adapt to shifting user habits, Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, recently announced that the app is pivoting away from being primarily a photo-sharing app. Instead, the platform will enhance its features in four key areas: creators, video, shopping and messaging, Mosseri said a week ago in a video. During the video, Mosseri noted that the COVID-19 pandemic “accelerated the shift of commerce from offline to online by a number of years, and we’re trying to lean into that trend” through its shopping features. Dive Insight: In his video announcement, Mosseri cited the success of competitors like TikTok, YouTube and smaller platforms as part of the reason for focusing more on video. In the coming months, the social network will be experimenting with recommendations — starting with sharing content to consumers, even from accounts they’re not following, based on the topics they’re interested in, he said.  “People are looking to Instagram to be entertained, there’s stiff competition and there’s more to do. Then we have to embrace that. And that means change,” Mosseri said in the video.  Instagram has taken its cues from other platforms like TikTok and Clubhouse, the audio social media app. Clubhouse, founded in early 2020, features live audio chat rooms and recently launched a direct payment tool for collecting tips from users. Similarly, Instagram launched its rooms feature in March to let up to four users chat live with one another simultaneously. Last month, Instagram also unveiled features to help creators monetize their audience.  Meanwhile, TikTok teamed up with Shopify last Fall to introduce e-commerce tools on the app. Instagram debuted its Shopping in Reels feature in December to let sellers... read more

“Class Is In Session: Examining the Evolution of Surf Schools” by Sam George via The Inertia

It ain’t easy being a newbie. Photo: Tim Marshall//Unsplash Editor’s Note: Welcome to Surf History 101, where we look at innovations in the world of surfing and beyond that changed the pursuit forever. In this edition, Sam George examines the surf school and its impact on our culture. What Is It Exactly what it sounds like, a surf school is a service in which instructors with varying degrees of experience and qualifications teach those who would like to learn, or at least experience, surfing. Who Developed It Earliest European descriptions of surfing in Polynesia and Africa make note that children in those cultures took to the water at a very early age, most probably following the example of older siblings and parents. While no doubt a sequential learning experience, there are no 19th century accounts of formal instruction. This changed at the turn of the  century, however, with the advent of Hawaii’s nascent tourist industry. Due, in part, to the efforts of a tireless journalist/promoter named Alexander Hume Ford, the exotic, eminently romantic “sport of kings” was billed as a major attraction at Waikiki and as the number of visitors increased it was only natural that the local “bronzed Mercurys” would begin taking tourists for a ride, so to speak. As such, the ensuing “Beach Boy” culture that sprung up along with the Moana Hotel in 1901 can be pointed to as the origin of surf instruction. This unique occupation flourished and by the 1920s Waikiki watermen had become essential Island ambassadors, not only providing the inherent thrills of board and canoe surfing, but sharing with visiting malahinis an authentic Hawaiian cultural experience that no contrived hula show or... read more

“Blind & Adaptive Skaters Take Over a Skate Park for the Weekend – A group filled with Ambition, Perseverance, and Grit” by Kelly Anne Walborn

Over the weekend of June 19, 2021, a group of 7 blind skaters and 1 adaptive skater joined forces at Modern Skate Park in Royal Oak, Michigan. Dreaming of getting this group together for several years now blind skater Nick Mullins finally made it happen and coordinated the entire event from start to finish. “My idea was to basically bring everyone together to kind of learn from each other,” Mullins stated. A weekend filled with excitement and thrills as well as some unfortunate unexpected events. A weekend that will go down in skate history and make a path for up and coming skaters of all ages and abilities. A weekend that would not have been possible without the generosity and care of George Leichtweis, the owner of Modern Skate Park for the past 41 years, who decided to take skateboarding to the next level once again in 2021. Blind Skater, Anthony Ferraro (left) learns how to navigate the bowl from Blind Skater, Nick Mullins at Modern Skate Recapping moments from a weekend like this was not a simple task. All skating aside, watching a group of individuals come together that as Mullins kept saying “all deal with the same problems” was an incredible thing to observe. The persistence of a blind skater trying to learn a trick for the first time and not stopping for hours until success is reached is not something that can be easily forgotten. Three virtues can sum up the weekend, ambition, perseverance and grit. Ambition – a passionate desire for rank, fame, or power The word humble should be attached to the beginning of ambition when describing anyone who... read more

“5 ‘Tiny, Noticeable Things’ Guaranteed to Build Customer Loyalty” by Adrian Webster via Total Retail

If you’re looking to build customer loyalty, there’s no simpler nor effective way of doing it then by fully utilizing what I call TNTs. TNTs are “tiny, noticeable things.” They’re all the little things that we don’t need to do, but when we do do them, they can have a seismic impact. They could be as small as a smile, as tiny as a “thank you,” remembering someone’s name, or perhaps recalling if they prefer their coffee with or without sugar. All little things, often overlooked that may cost nothing, yet they make and break relationships. They’re the difference between a four- and a five-star experience, and they’re the difference between a customer choosing, or not choosing, your brand over a competitor. TNT behavior is centered around being sensitive to and then acting upon things that may at times appear insignificant to us, but mean a lot to someone else. Here are five TNT behaviors that can instantly be put to good use, and are guaranteed to keep customers coming back: Related story: New Data Reveals Retailers Need to Create More CX Value Post-COVID-19 If you want to grow customer loyalty, start by making your team members feel taller. If your people feel good about themselves, the chances are they will want to make your customers feel good, too. “Great people make people feel great” is something I repeatedly find myself saying when speaking at conferences. A TNT gesture such as sending a handwritten note to someone’s home address or personally thanking them for all their hard work will give that person a huge lift, and probably never be forgotten.Always be... read more

“Surging Sales Continue in Surf and Skate Shops” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Strong sales in the core channel are showing no signs of slowdown as shoppers continue to embrace local retailers and the surf and skate lifestyle. According to the ActionWatch Retail Panel, year-to-date sales are up 89% vs. the same period in 2020. Click on the following link to view the rest of this informative Shop Eat Surf Article: “Surging Sales Continue in Surf and Skate Shops” 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 already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“How To Leave Excuses Behind, Dig In, And Grow Retail Sales” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

As the pandemic ebbs in the USA, a growing number of retailers are finding excuses why they can’t move forward with their business as they’d like. We’re SO busy. We can’t get anyone to work. Our vendors can’t ship. We have too many customers. I get it. As I predicted a while ago, the end of the lockdown would mean an accelerated push to buy – not just shop. Many retailers were unprepared then and are unprepared now. You can leave excuses behind and plan for an even brighter future. Many years ago I was working with a coffee franchise and we were looking for ways to grow retail sales. We knew we had to maximize the traffic we already had and entice each customer to buy more than a cup of joe. We had to raise the average check. I suggested we put in a merchandise line for the holidays which included s’mores tree ornaments. Customers shopped as they waited for their drinks and the ornaments blew off the shelves. We had to re-order twice. We achieved our goal. A week later we received a letter from the landlord telling us a retailer at the opposite side of the shopping center had complained we were carrying a gift line which was hurting her business. She wanted us to stick to coffee. Geez. Like there is a finite number of people looking for gifts and any sale we made meant it was one less for her. Yesterday, I thought about that retailer and what happens when you are challenged by: A new competitorNot being able to find employeesA bad online... read more

“Despite Monthly Decline, May Retail Sales Reach Near-Record Level” by Joe Keenan via Total Retail

Retail sales remained at elevated levels in May despite month-to-month fluctuations that masked near-record performance, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said today. The Commerce Department reported on Tuesday that May retail sales declined 1.3 percent month-over-month. However, the industry’s largest trade association says the May sales data doesn’t tell the whole story. “While May retail sales were down slightly, largely due to supply chain constraints, the more accurate indicator remains in the year-over-year data which, as the NRF calculates, showed growth of over 17 percent,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “For the first five months of this year, retail sales are already tracking 17.6 percent above the same five months of 2020, giving us further confidence in our newly revised sales forecast of growth between 10.5 percent and 13.5 percent to more than $4.44 trillion for 2021. While there are downside risks related to labor shortages, supply chain bottlenecks, tax increases and over-regulation, overall, households are healthier, and consumers are demonstrating their ability and willingness to spend.” Total Retail’s Take: The ominous headlines that May’s retail sales declined, suggesting a slowdown in the economy’s recovery, need to be taken with a grain of salt. The retail sector has recorded solid growth in the first five months of the year, driven by a combination of factors, including stimulus packages, increasing vaccination rates, and greater consumer confidence. The NRF is banking on those trends continuing for the second half of 2021, illustrated by its recently boosted annual sales forecast. “The YoY comparison shows a robust rebound in May,” says Naveen Jaggi, president, retail advisory services, JLL. “This summer, we can expect consumer confidence to continue to make gains as more... read more

“Surfrider Foundation Welcomes Global Celebrations for International Surfing Day” via Surfrider Foundation

The Beach Belongs to Everyone! On Saturday, June 19, the Surfrider Foundation and international affiliates will host events worldwide in recognition of the 17th annual International Surfing Day (ISD) to celebrate the sport of surfing and the protection of clean water and healthy beaches. Held each year on the third Saturday of June, the global holiday founded by the Surfrider Foundation brings communities together to enjoy coastal recreation and raise awareness of urgent threats to the coasts. Every day, the Surfrider Foundation and our network of volunteer activist’s work to protect our coasts. On International Surfing Day, we come together and take a moment to celebrate the waves and beaches that we all love. The theme of this year’s ISD is “The Beach Belongs to Everyone.” For decades, Surfrider has championed to keep our beaches accessible and welcoming for all people to enjoy—regardless of race, socioeconomic background, ability or gender identity. This International Surfing Day, we are celebrating the joy and excitement that the beach brings to all of us. Surfing is an amazing gift and the beach is an incredible place that should be healthy, safe and accessible to all people. As surfers and beachgoers alike, it is our responsibility to foster a vibrant, inclusive community that comes together to protect and enjoy this extraordinary resource. Ways to Participate in ISD While Maintaining Correct Physical Distancing Due to the effects of the coronavirus, surfing and beach regulations throughout the country are constantly changing. Please review your local guidelines and adhere to any curent restrictions in place.If your chapter is having an in person ISD celebration, let’s do everything we can to ensure a fun,... read more


A few weeks back, Karl Watson introduced us to his friend Andrew Huberman, who is a neuroscientist and tenured professor at Stanford. Andrew also grew up skating San Francisco’s Embarcadero in its heyday where he met a number of amazing skaters, Karl being one of them. Andrew’s research touches on fear responses, as well as sleep and dream states and how they relate to learning. You can learn about this stuff on his podcast which can be very science-heavy and dense at times, but Andrew shares some groundbreaking findings that we and Karl felt other skaters could greatly benefit from. So when Karl asked us if he could interview him and help introduce the research to the everyday skater, we immediately jumped on. We parsed their convo down to give you the best, most digestible bits, but if you are intrigued and want to dive a little deeper into the full studies, make sure to check out Andrew’s site and Instagram where he posts more info on his research and findings. TIMESTAMPS 1:21 Andrew’s background and mission.3:13 Skateboarding’s connection to science.4:12 Why are somedays better than others?5:06 Breathing techniques to remain calm.7:10 How do you get over fear?8:31 Dopamine in skateboarding.11:05 Learning tricks in your dreams.12:19 How do you not let fear get to you?14:14 Muscle memory is a myth.14:46 Are skaters better off in society?16:40 How to slide into Andrew’s DMs. CREDITS 0:15EMB shot by Jacob Rosenberg0:56Candyland by Bill Strobeck2:46Mike Blacbac via Chromeball2:14Dan Mancina by Christian Alexander2:56Danny Way shot my Mike Blabac3:21Jenkem The Second Coming of Brandon Turner3:51Genesis 2 by Ian Ostrowski7:42Welcome to Hell by Toy Machine9:52Thrasher My War: Sammy Baca12:40Thrasher My War: Jamie Foy13:00Thrasher My War: Dane Burman15:10Emerica Stay Gold B-Side: Jerry Hsu15:34@fancyladskateco on Instagram15:39Modus Operandi by Transworld skateboarding Interview by: Karl WatsonEdited by: Rob FraebelShare this with an AI robot... read more

“The Post-Pandemic State of Mobile, Part 2: Mobile’s Role in BOPIS and BOPAC” by Alex Campbell via Total Retail

During the pandemic, retailers faced once-in-a-lifetime headwinds, including closed physical locations, limited in-store capacity, slowed shipping times, and a customer that was oftentimes scared to leave the house. As a result, they turned heavily to buy online, pick up in-store (BOPIS) and buy online, pick up at curbside (BOPAC) to make their customers’ buying journeys easier. These options combine the benefits of convenience and instant gratification, while making the shopping process safer. Prior to the pandemic, BOPIS and BOPAC were growing. However, the pandemic forced brick and mortar retailers to significantly increase investment in digital to physical shopping. And this customer behavior is here to stay. During the holiday season, BOPIS usage increased 400 percent from 2019 pre-pandemic levels. Major retailers are seeing success from adopting this omnichannel strategy. For example, by introducing BOPIS, 40 percent of Bed, Bath & Beyond‘s revenue now comes from its digital channels. Now that BOPIS and BOPAC’s are here to stay, mobile engagement must be integrated into the process. Reduce Consumer Friction While BOPIS and BOPAC improve the customer experience by making the consumer shopping experience easier, retailer to consumer communication is tricky during this process especially because it is so time dependent. The biggest complaint with BOPIS is that customers arrive before their order is ready. This means effective communication between the retailer and the consumer is critical to a positive customer experience. Most retailers still use email to communicate with customers during BOPIS and BOPAC experiences. The problem with email is that 80 percent of people don’t open emails from brands. The channel just isn’t an effective way to inform customers of time-sensitive information. With mobile engagement, and... read more

“You Might Not Need to Worry About Breaking a Brand New Surfboard Ever Again” via The Inertia

Editor’s Note: Just bought a new surfboard? Check out Surfcare, a new option for peace of mind. You just dropped an unforgiving grand(ish) on a creamy white hunk of fiberglass – straight off the rack from your local surf shop. It’s silky to the touch. Your eye skims its clean eyes with adoration. You’re beaming with pride. You’re also a little sheepish about the purchase. The expense to fragility ratio is merciless. The reef doesn’t care about your investment. Nor does the minefield of surfboards at crowded spots like Malibu. Nope. They’ll happily break your board for you and kill that joy at no cost. The fragility of expensive surfboards has long defied logic for addicted, cash-constrained surfers. But a sensible solution may have just hit the market. Enter Surfcare: insurance for your brand new surfboard. “I was on a six-month trip to Indonesia when I had my ‘aha’ moment,” says Surfcare Founder Nick Stolz. “I showed up to the tiny Island of Sipura in the Mentawais with a brand new quiver of boards. Within a couple weeks, however, I broke every single one of them surfing HT’s and waves on neighboring islands. That’s when I decided to make Surfcare a reality.” Surfcare cofounder Nick Stolz charging Nias prior to breaking all of his surfboards and deciding to do something capitalist about it. Photo: Courtesy Stolz According to Stolz, the brand launched last month after three years of development and hoop-jumping to abide by regulations in the understandably no-nonsense insurance industry. Insurance is not a bro-bro industry.  Warranties must be vetted and maintained. “To get a little into the weeds, I didn’t know what I was... read more

“9 Tips For Hiring And Training Seasonal Retail Sales Employees” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

Let’s be frank when it comes to the seasonality of hiring and training part-time retail employees… All you really care about is that they show up when scheduled and don’t detract from your brand. Your seasonal retail sales employees are there to take a lot of the grunt work off your best trained regular staff. And that’s important to recognize in your seasonal planning. Don’t assume they can perform at the level of your permanent employees – they’ll only be there short term – or you’ll be disappointed again and again. Seasonal part-time employees should free up your regular employees’ time and be well trained in what to do when your store is slammed and when it is calm.   Just because Billy quit and you need someone now, don’t throw a new hire into the pool to sink or swim with minimum training or expect them to shadow a sales associate to figure it out. You, your customers, and your business deserve better. Here are my nine tips for seasonal retail hiring and training: When hiring … 1. Hire more.  Vacation and holiday times are demanding. Good people who sincerely think they could work it, find out they can’t, so do more seasonal hiring than you think you initially need. Then be quick to let go of those who can’t learn. And do all of your seasonal retail hirings before Memorial Day pre-summer season and before Thanksgiving prior to the winter holidays; after then it is simply too late. SalesRX has an entire courseon hiring smarter When interviewing… 2. Long-term goals – You are not looking for a long-term relationship, so this is not important. Consider these... read more

“The Electric Acid Surfboard Test Shaper Reveal – Meet the crafty hands behind Mason and Coco’s colorful quiver” via Stab Magazine

Words by Stab. Photos by Ryan Miller It’s a pleasure each time we set out to film the Electric Acid Surfboard Test, pairing surfers with unfamiliar shapers and foreign models, and patiently waiting for unexpected results.  Today we’d like to take the time to introduce you to the craftsmen behind the vibrant quiver we sent with Mason and Coco Ho. The brother-sister duo cycled through twenty-five surfboards during a two-week stint in Southern Mexico, and we filmed every last second. Photo by Ryan Miller. Here is this years mixed bag Electric Acid Surfboard Test roster: Album Surfboards / Matt Parker Panda Surfboards / Blake Peters Pyzel Surfboards / Jon Pyzel Channel Islands / Britt Merrick …Lost Surfboards / Matt “Mayhem” Biolos Thomas Surfboards / Thomas Bexon Dark Arts / Justin Tiernes Pukas Surfboards / Axel Lorentz Dead Kooks / Eden Saul Morning Of The Earth / Simon Jones JS Surfboards / Jason Stevenson Rusty Surfboards / Rusty Priesendorfer Be sure to visit the STABMag website to view valuable Surfing related News and Resourceful Articles regularly. 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... read more

“A pair of 12-year-olds qualify for Olympic skateboarding. So does a 46-year-old” by via NBC Sports & Yahoo Sports

Skateboarding’s Olympic debut will truly be one for the ages. World Skate announced the 80 qualifiers for the Tokyo Games on Wednesday — 20 each for men’s and women’s park and street. The youngest qualifiers are 12 years old — Brit Sky Brown, who turns 13 on July 12, and Japanese Kokona Hiraki, who was born two days after the Beijing Olympics ended. Brown and Hiraki are ranked Nos. 3 and 6 in the world, respectively. They are younger than any Olympian since Cameroon swimmer Antoinette Guedia at those 2008 Olympics. Either could become the youngest Olympic medalist since 1936, according to Brown suffered skull fractures in a spring 2020 crash off a vert ramp. The oldest qualifier is a man known as The Danish Destroyer. Rune Glifberg, 46, competed at the very first X Games in 1995 — and took third in the vert event won by Tony Hawk in Rhode Island. He was also in the very first Tony Hawk Pro Skater game for the original PlayStation in 1999. The 34-year age range is not close to the Olympic record. In 2016 alone, equestrian featured an 18-year-old and a 62-year-old. The U.S. Olympic skateboarding team of 12 is here. Skateboarding was added to the Olympic program for Tokyo under new rules that allow hosts to propose sports strictly for their edition of the Games. Skateboarding was added along with baseball, softball, karate, sport climbing and surfing. Skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing were also added for the 2024 Paris Games. 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... read more

“LearnWake Trick Tips: Teaching Kids How to Wakeboard – Introducing kids to the sport doesn’t have to be hard or stressful” by LearnWake via Wakeboarding Mag

this It’s Friday, and with that we have another great video from our friends at LearnWake. With summer approaching, hopefully teaching others to ride is in your plans. And even more so, we hope some of those learning are children. Wakeboarding is a fun, healthy sport that will bring a smile to kids’ faces once they learn to get up and ride on the water on their own. That is sometimes easier said than done, though. In this video we walk you through the step-by-step process of teaching kids to get up in simple, easy-to-understand tips. If you’ve ever struggled teaching kids in the past, or had reservations about doing it, this video is for you. For more interesting wakeboarding related articles and remarkable wakeboarding action, check out: 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... read more

“It’s Official: Here’s Who Will Be Surfing at the 2021 Olympic Games – MEET THE 40 OLYMPIANS WHO WILL BE HEADING TO TOKYO IN JULY” via

Over the past week, surfers from all over the world have been duking it out in El Salvador for the chance to compete in surfing’s debut at the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Towards the tail-end of 2019, right before the world shut down due to COVID-19, 18 ‘CT athletes provisionally qualified for the Olympics, with the remaining 12 slots allotted based on the outcomes of the 2019 Pan Am Games and the 2019 and 2021 ISA World Surfing Games, according to the somewhat byzantine Olympic qualification process. WHAT DOES IT FEEL LIKE TO SURF WITH A WORLD TITLE AND OLYMPIC SPOT ON THE LINE?A new mini-doc goes behind the scenes at Honolua Bay with Carissa, Lakey and Caroline Now that the last path to qualify has run its course (you can read all about the ISA World Surfing Games Now that the last path to qualify has run its course (you can read all about the ISA World Surfing Games here), the 40 Olympians have now been officially solidified. The roster below–broken down by the avenue each athlete qualified through–features a wide range of surfers, representing 17 different countries. At this moment in time–despite Japan recently extending its COVID-10 state of emergency–the Games will start July 23 and run through August 8. We’ll keep you posted if anything changes. Team Japan during the ISA World Surfing Games Closing Ceremony Women: 2019 WSL Championship Tour Carissa Moore (USA)Caroline Marks (USA)Tatiana Weston-Webb (BRA)Silvana Lima (BRA)Brisa Hennessy (CRC)Sally Fitzgibbons (AUS)Stephanie Gilmore (AUS)Johanne Defay (FRA) 2021 World Surfing Games Yolanda Sequeria (POR)Teresa Bonvalot (POR)Daniella Rosas (PER)Leilani McGonagle (CRC)Mahina Maeda (JPN)Amuro Tsuzuki (JPN)Pauline Ado (FRA) 2019 World Surfing... read more

“Why and how your business should be texting in 2021. – Webinar | June 10th, 2021 @ 1 PM EST” (register here) via Podium

The way that consumers communicate is different. No longer will phone and email be a sufficient way to maintain contact and interact with your customers. Today’s consumer is much more comfortable communicating via text or other messaging apps. Businesses that aren’t catering to these differing communication preferences could be left behind.In this webinar, we will discuss how using messaging to augment your service will significantly boost your customer service, while vastly improving your retention. We’ll also give you tips and tricks for implementing a messaging strategy that works best for your business.Key Objectives: – Gain an understanding of today’s communication landscape– How messaging can improve customer service and retention  Register  Request Recording  Can’t make it to the webinar? Register anyway and we will send you the recording.  Presenter    Mark EvansSr. Director of Retail Sales — Podium  Register  Request Recording BRA note: We are very pleased to mention that Podium has joined Board Retailers Association as a BRA Supporting Vendor Partner. If you would like to be introduced via email to the solid people behind this outstanding resource, email me. – Doug Works, BRA Executive Director 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... read more

“5 Trends Shaping the Future of Brick-and-Mortar Retail” by Bobby Marhamat via Total Retail

Was it a rough year for many individual retailers? No doubt. We saw too many organizations close their doors in the past year-plus. However, as a whole, brick-and-mortar retail is booming. Total retail sales rose by 6.9 percent in 2020 compared with 2019, per the U.S. Department of Commerce (via The Balance). The final take in 2020: $1.47 trillion. Despite the impressive metrics, changes must continue to take place if brick-and-mortar retailers are going to maintain momentum. This is particularly true because of e-commerce’s increasing market share. Customer experience continues to be the great advantage of brick-and-mortar retail. Paul Greenberg, founder of NORA Network, explains the importance of creating the most memorable customer experience possible: “The in-store experience will continue to be deeply engaging, making that transition from a transactional environment to an experiential and entertaining experience.” The prominent trends that we’ve seen in brick-and-mortar retail reinforce the importance of creating memorable in-location experiences. Our State of Consumer Behavior 2021 report found that 90 percent of consumers will return to your store if they have a positive experience. The inverse is also true. From providing unique in-store promotions to personalizing the customer journey and making your brand socially relevant, your organization should embrace trends that are shaping the retail experience right now. Related story: Why In-Store Experiences Are the Key to Thriving in 2021 Maximizing Both Online and Offline Customer Channels Apps and online storefronts are allowing brick-and-mortar retailers to remain competitive with e-retailers when it comes to convenience. Organizations likes Starbucks have leveraged online channels — an app specifically — to reduce customer wait times and enhance the convenience of the customer journey. This... read more

“Retail Pricing Strategies – Six Mistakes To Avoid” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

A retailer must be extremely aware of their pricing strategy to ensure that their pricing is done accurately and in a timely manner. Failure in this seemingly simple matter can lead to all sorts of problems, from unintended “loss leaders” that sap profits, to confused customers who become indignant if a wrong price cannot be honored. Here are 6 pricing mistakes that retailers should avoid: 1. Phony savings A recent story about JC Penney illustrates one of the top pricing mistakes for retailers: placing price tags that are higher on top of originally tagged items that were lower. Nothing makes customers madder than peeling back a price tag, in this instance, a men’s short sleeve shirt on sale for $13.99 marked down from $20 with an original price tag under showing it originally sold for $10. Outfit your price-changers with a razor blade if necessary to scrape all of the other prices away – no one wants to emulate J.C. Penney. 2. Mispricing While a POS system will charge the correct price when scanned, the customer will demand the posted price on a mismarked item. Customer service demands that you comply but your staff has to be trained to correct this situation immediately on the entire inventory of the item still in the store. If they don’t, you risk losing your profit margin on every one of those items sold. Likewise, an item that is correct in the POS system, but holds a higher price on the shelf could cripple your turn of that line. The fix? Always have someone spot-check. 3. Markup Errors Figuring the markup on a product is... read more

“You Won’t Believe the Crap Female Surfers Have to Deal With in Surf Shops” by Naomi Blik via The Inertia

Girls don’t go into surf shops just to buy bikinis. Photo: Naomi Blik. Editor’s Note: The women interviewed for this piece asked to remain anonymous to protect their hard-earned standings in their respective communities. A girl walks into a surf shop and the ensemble of mansplaining commences. Pretty much every female surfer has a story of feeling patronized in a surf shop. As much as we like to think surfing is becoming more progressive and inclusive (and in many ways it has), surf shops seem to be stuck in the eighties with the automatic assumption that girls can’t surf. I sat down with some female surfers from different areas of California to gauge their experiences in surf shops. One female surfer entered a surf shop in Santa Barbara looking for a new longboard for summer. “They literally assumed I didn’t know how to surf and said ‘Weston boards are great for beginners,’” she recounted to me.  “I’ve always felt that way, even in surf shops growing up in Northern California. I’ve never felt fully comfortable there without going in with another guy.”  Another young woman told me about one of her experiences in a Central Coast surf shop: “I walked in to get tropical wax for an upcoming surf trip and the guy behind the counter said ‘this wax is meant for warmer temperatures or to be used as a base coat that goes underneath,’ assuming I didn’t know what I was buying,” she said. “Most of the time when I walk into a surf shop they automatically assume I don’t know what I’m talking about,” she continued.  It’s not uncommon for women to feel the need... read more

“How to Find Strength In Being A Brick and Mortar Retail Store” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

This is a post for retailers with physical stores competing with online shopping and technology that threatens their sales. Yes, it has been a year of chaos, but the pandemic in the U.S. is receding. That still doesn’t mean you can go back to exactly what you did before … especially if it wasn’t working. In some ways, the pandemic has been a gift. It forced businesses to evolve their operations, update their websites, payment capabilities, and more. We all cope with a world spinning out of control by controlling our own environments as much as we can. Our collection of followers, the pictures we curate to show we’re having a great time, and the people we text are all filtered versions of ourselves. We like to believe we don’t need anyone. We’re self-sufficient and smart.  I can do it myself and better. Many of us, when dealing with the stresses of everyday life, turn to our smartphones to make us feel we are loved. Research shows the chemical dopamine that is released when we get a text on a smartphone gives us the same feeling as gambling or drinking. Our focus on getting ahead and staying current means staying connected to social media platforms. Even with many followers, some people can’t rely on their friends because they know their friends will blow them off if something better comes along.  This has left many employees as well as shoppers adrift with the illusion of connection. The trouble is that we’re growing more addicted to that dopamine rush of a text message or a thumbs up. This is why we do more and... read more

“4 Best Practices for Creating a Social Commerce Experience That Converts” by Elise Stieferman via Total Retail

Online shopping received a serious bump in 2020. So did its offshoot, social commerce. In fact, among the strongest trends in the e-commerce industry, making purchases from social platforms seems to be the one to watch due to its projected year-over-year sales bump of 35 percent. It only makes sense that people would start using social media to not only find and explore items, but also to buy them. After all, social platforms such as Snapchat and TikTok have taken on a digital “hangout” role, especially for younger audiences. Being able to snag a deal without leaving a favored platform removes barriers and increases convenience. Social commerce isn’t just attractive because it’s easy for consumers, though. It’s also exciting because it can replicate the feelings elicited during in-store shopping — but virtually. Consumers can interact with brands in real time through likes, comments, direct messages (DMs) and chatbots. They can also share their “finds” with followers, creating opportunities for retailers to enjoy organic cross-pollination. From the retailer’s perspective, social commercemakes just as much sense — particularly for companies in tangible product categories like electronics, apparel, home decorations, jewelry, and cosmetics. Why? The business basically has a built-in pipeline to consumers without the need for a physical location. Additionally, most brands already have a social presence. Therefore, adding social e-commerce into the mix by using Facebook Shops, Instagram Shops, or a third-party integration doesn’t involve a giant leap or learning curve. Related story: The Power of Social Media, Video and Storytelling for Two Blind Brothers Crafting Your Own Social Commerce Strategy Nevertheless, brands shouldn’t underestimate the need to map out their social... read more

“Is Your Business Prepared for the Unexpected? – take an inside look at how you can manage risk” by (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner) Outdoor Sports Insurance

Surfing, wakeboarding, snowboarding, skateboarding… Boardsports are inherently risky, butthat doesn’t mean we’re going to stop doing them. And for a business, it doesn’t mean the riskcan’t be managed. Outdoor Sports Insurance is led by experts in managing such risk. We’re insurance agents, butwe’re also outdoor enthusiasts who are intimately familiar with the activities we cover. OutdoorSports Insurance has partnered with the Board Retailers Association to answer questions aboutbest practices, handle unforeseen risks and manage your exposure to 3rd party liability. To getyou started, here are a few topics we recommend as areas of focus for any retailer in theoutdoor sports space. Rentals & DemosRentals and demos are undoubtedly one of the most important tools in your toolbelt whenallowing customers to experience new gear they’re interested in purchasing. Whether acustomer is spending $200 or $2,000, we understand the desire to “try before you buy.”Product demos are one of the leading drivers of injury, and subsequent lawsuits against retailersin the board retail space. From catching the board’s edge on the slopes to taking a SUP intodangerous waters, a simple product demo can quickly turn into a litigation nightmare. This iswhere Outdoor Sports Insurance comes in. In addition to providing you with insurance coveragedesigned specifically to meet these unique exposures, we extend our service offerings toinclude reviews and recommendations of your rental and demo processes, equip you with themost current and comprehensive waivers and release of liability forms, and provide continuededucation around latest trends and emerging hazards so that you are prepared when aface-plant becomes a frivolous lawsuit. Special Events and ClinicsRentals and demos aren’t the only way to find new customers.... read more


(Vista, CA) – As the nation continues to overcome COVID-19 challenges, locally run skatepark projects are still in progress. Advocates from all over the country are working hard to provide a free and accessible skatepark for their community to enjoy. Out of the hundreds of communities that we provide technical assistance to each quarter, around thirty projects applied for a TSP Skatepark Construction Grant. With the help of the Grants Committee and approval of TSP’s Board of Directors, we’re pleased to announce this semester’s grant recipients. These applicants followed skatepark project best practices and demonstrated excellent community engagement in areas of need. SUMMER 2021 TSP SKATEPARK GRANT RECIPIENTS (scroll down to view skatepark designs) Duluth, MN – $5,000 (Alex LeVasseur Memorial Grant) Rustin, LA – $10,000 Leominster, MA – $10,000 Huntsville, AL – $10,000 (Alex LeVasseur Memorial Grant) Evansville, IN – $10,000 Kamiah, ID – $5,000 Superior, MT – $5,000 Prairie du Sac, WI – $2,500 Project Recognition Grants Hagerstown, MD – $1,000 Greenwood Lake, NY – $1,000 Dover, DE – $1,000 Bangor, ME – $1,000 SUMMER 2021 BUILT TO PLAY SKATEPARK GRANT RECIPIENTSThe Skatepark Project’s partnership with the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation continues, and we’re fully stoked to welcome the towns of Sweden and Hamburg, NY into the Built to Play Skatepark family! With our help, these two towns in WNY have pulled together representatives from their communities, municipalities, and businesses to create a vision for their public skateparks, and an action plan to make it happen.  All it takes is one person to spark the skatepark fire in a community. If you’re that spark, contact us and we’ll help you stoke your skatepark project fire! Hamburg, NY – $300,000 Town of Sweden,... read more

“Should retailers continue to require associates and customers to wear masks?” by George Anderson with commentary by 38 retail experts via Retail Wire

Americans who have received full doses of COVID-19 vaccines (one or two shots, depending on the manufacturer) and have allowed at least two weeks to pass will now be free to go about their daily activities without wearing a mask. This applies both to outdoor as well as most indoor activities, with the exception of airline travel, public transport and certain other mandated situations. Everyone else needs to keep wearing masks, particularly in indoor environments. Those are the basic rules laid out in new guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which provided the caveat that citizens should continue to follow local and/or state rules as they apply to mask wearing. The guidance did not specifically address businesses, although the takeaways seem clear for public-facing companies. Masks should continue to be worn by all that have not been vaccinated even when state or local rules say otherwise. That means, in practical terms, that unless a retailer has a way to verify people have been vaccinated before they enter stores, it is prudent that they continue to enforce mask wearing rules. This seems to be particularly true in locations where COVID-19 disinformation is prevalent and vaccination rates are low. Business owners and employers are being cautioned by workplace experts not to fling open the doors and throw away their masks just yet. Kevin Troutman, an attorney with Fisher Phillips in Houston, told SHRM Online, that employers should wait until the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) updates its workplace safety guidance before making any changes. The New York Times reports that some states have lifted mandates following the CDC’s announcement and... read more

“V-Shaped Recovery Hockey-Stick Growth – a Year Like No Other In Core Surf & Skate Retail” by Patrik Schmidle via

March 2021 sales in US core channel grew +132% vs March 2020 Exactly one year ago core retailers were recovering from an April that saw a roughly 80% year-on-year (YoY) decline. April 2020 was arguably the most difficult month the surf and skate industry has ever had to endure. Retailers and brands alike were navigating local government mandates regarding store closures, implementing reopening measures, launching curb-side pickup services, conducting concierge shopping, beefing up on-line offerings, furloughing employees, and deciding what they should do about future orders. At the same time they were wondering if and when their PPP funding would finally arrive.  Fast forward one year and the biggest current concern is having enough inventory to meet the seemingly insatiable consumer demand.  The one consistent trend since June of 2020 was that anything related to hardgoods and wetsuits grew at unprecedented rates. In some months, these categories enjoyed more than 100% YoY growth. However, the soft goods categories slowed down the overall momentum as they declined -15% from 2019 to 2020. Source: Same-Store ActionWatch Panel 2020 vs 2019 All Categories Those trends carried over to the first two months of 2021 as supply chain challenges caused otherwise strong sales to plateau. As a result sales figures were comparable to January and February 2020. Then came March 2021.  Sales exploded, growing by +132% compared to March 2020. Even compared to March 2019 sales grew an astounding +37%. Source: Same-Store ActionWatch Panel 2020 to YTD March 2021 The 2021 March numbers are especially encouraging because the higher margin soft goods categories achieved very robust growth numbers. Across the board we recorded higher... read more

“TWS 10: Deadhippie’s Tips For Skating In Your 40s” by Mackenzie Eisenhour via Transworld Skateboarding

Right about when lockdown went into effect here in LA, I started skating more than I have ever skated in my life. It wasn’t so much a plan, but more just out of boredom and mental welfare necessity after being isolated in an apartment with two kids home from school for a year. I turned 44 last December, but am somehow now skating more, learning more new tricks, and breaking down more longstanding mental/physical roadblocks than ever before. Of course, no matter what your skill level—the more you skate, the more you learn. The more you learn, the more fun it gets. And, the more fun it gets, the more you want to do it, and onwards into exponential bliss. But how do you start that fire in middle age and keep it burning? How do you inspire and/or confound Boil The Ocean?  Here (in no particular order) are 10 tips that helped me. 1) Take nothing for granted.I should probably start with a disclaimer: This is all temporary—a daily reprieve from our inevitable reckoning. I wish I could say there is some foolproof formula to riding your skateboard in your forties and beyond without injury, pain, or the occasional midlife crisis. However, there is not. Every session is a crapshoot. It can all end at any moment. Many of us are already too physically beaten up at this age to even do it. So every time we do get to roll post-forty is a miracle. Be grateful. Have zero expectations, and do it for those who cannot. There is no guarantee you can do it again tomorrow. 2) Stay... read more

“5 signs that retail is going to be OK” by Daphne Howland via Retail Dive

The industry took a beating last year. Challenges remain, but here are a few indications of retailers’ strength. Last year was a challenge like no other for the retail industry. COVID-19 upended people’s existence worldwide, threatening human life and undermining the global economy. Job and wage losses took a toll. Even those able to stay healthy and financially secure have faced disruptions to daily life, upsetting work, school and other routines. All of this has had implications for retailers. Specialized retailers and department stores were forced to close for months while grocers and mass merchants were allowed to stay open as essential businesses. But for all of them, supply and demand were undependable last year. Meanwhile, nervous consumers have expected stores to be clean and safe or to offer e-commerce and pickup services even if they hadn’t before.  Thankfully, in the U.S., the federal government came through a number of times, pumping trillions of dollars into the economy, much of it directly into consumers’ pockets. Now, consumer confidence is on the rebound, well up in recent months, reaching a high in April not seen since February 2020, according to The Conference Board. Several challenges remain, however, and they’re not minor. That starts with the fact that, while there are signs it’s easing in the U.S. thanks mostly to the distribution of vaccines, the pandemic isn’t over. Further, the consumer remains under pressure. Despite improvement, the employment picture is cloudy, with millions of Americans still out of work, according to the ADP Research Institute, and hiring unexpectedly weak in April, according to the U.S. Labor Department. The pre-pandemic wealth gap and middle class fragility haven’t eased, while pandemic-era anxiety around health and... read more

BRA Covid-19 Retailer Resource Guide (strategies, webinars, loans and more) – published on March 23, 2020 / last updated with links to recently updated resources on May 14, 2021

Welcome to the BRA COVID-19 Resource Guide. Below you will find resources for the benefit of all board specialty retailers (BRA Retail Members and non-members alike) during this challenging period. The Board Retailers Association is actively aggregating resources to assist you in navigating these uncharted waters. We update this page with additional resources regularly. If you are interested in contributing relevant information or helpful resources that will benefit other board specialty retailers, please email our Executive Director at Relevant and trustworthy online resources providing facts related to transmission of Covid-19 (Corona Virus) and strategies to battle the spread #spreadthestokenotthevirus Center for Disease Control (CDC) – Official Website Flatten The Curve – Everything you and your customers need to know to battle COVID-19 is on this website World Health Organization – Mental health and psychosocial considerations during the COVID-19 outbreak This epic and relevant drawing was created by Reddit User Darth Voter Relevant educational webinars (on-demand) > Crystal Media – 3 Tips To Get Started With Social Selling Today and Staying Top-of-Mind and Connected to Customers During a Pandemic > Management One – 1) “The Retailer’s Guide to the Economic Stimulus Package & Financial Options to Address COVID-19” – The CARES Act is a complex mix of government aid and bank loans each with their own timelines and requirements. The parameters and regulations for these loans is changing hourly! 2) With rent being one of the highest monthly expenses for brick and mortar retail businesses, it’s a good idea to approach the subject of temporarily altering the structure of your agreement – The Art of Landlord Negotiation to Ease the Highest... read more

“United States Skateboard Education Association Announces Learn to Skateboard Day – Encouraging everyone to skateboard for the first time” via PR from USSEA

April 19, 2021 – Olympia, WA, USA – The United States Skateboard Education Association (USSEA) announces its third annual Learn to Skateboard Day. USSEA is an organization dedicated to empowering everyone through life-changing skateboarding experiences, regardless of age, gender, or race. Learn to Skateboard Day is Saturday, May 22, 2021. Instructors and all those who love skateboarding are encouraged to create an event in their community and teach children and adults the sport they love. Whether it’s a skatepark or a driveway, a front yard or a parking lot, Learn to Skateboard Day events are for everyone who wants to learn a new skill, a new sport, and have fun.  “Learn to Skateboard Day was just an idea a few years ago, and now it’s an international event,” said Joe Eberling, co-founder of USSEA. “We know what a positive impact skateboarding can have on people’s mental, physical and emotional well-being, so we want more people to take part in skateboarding. If you thought skateboarding was for everyone else, then think again.” Eberling continues, “Our research indicates that millions of people want to skateboard but don’t, usually because they had a bad first experience or they are afraid they might be laughed at. At USSEA, we encourage creating opportunities for these potential skaters to find a welcoming and safe environment for their first experience on a skateboard. It all comes together on Learn to Skateboard Day.” With skateboarding making its debut at the Olympics this year, more people are becoming interested in learning to skateboard, and skateboard enthusiasts are ready to teach and share their excitement for the sport. Learn... read more

“How To Leave Excuses Behind, Dig In, And Grow Retail Sales” by Bob Phibbs (The Retail Doctor)

As the pandemic ebbs in the USA a growing number of retailers are finding excuses why they can’t move forward with their business like they’d like. We’re SO busy. We can’t get anyone to work. Our vendors can’t ship. We have too many customers. I get it. As I predicted a while ago, the end of the lockdown would mean an accelerated push to buy – not just shop. Many retailers were unprepared then and are unprepared now. This post is how to leave excuses behind and plan for an even brighter future. Many years ago I was working with a coffee franchise and we were looking for ways to grow retail sales. We knew we had to maximize the traffic we already had and entice each customer to buy more than a cup of joe. We had to raise the average check. I suggested we put in a merchandise line for the holidays which included S’Mores tree ornaments. Customers shopped as they waited for their drinks and the ornaments blew off the shelves. We had to re-order twice.  We achieved our goal. A week later we received a letter from the landlord telling us a retailer at the opposite side of the shopping center had complained we were carrying a gift line which was hurting her business. She wanted us to stick to coffee. Geez. Like there is a finite number of people looking for gifts and any sale we made meant it was one less for her. Yesterday, I thought about that retailer and what happens when you are challenged by: A new competitorNot being able to find... read more

“T&C Surf Celebrates 50 Years in Business” by Tiffany Montgomery via Shop Eat Surf

Please click on the following link to view this relevant Shop Eat Surf Article containing the history behind and the future ahead of T & C Surf (BRA Distinguished Retail Member): T&C Surf Celebrates 50 Years in Business” 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 already a BRA Retail Member, you can easily opt in to either Regular (no cost) or Distinguished ($99/yr.) Membership via this super simple join... read more

“Additional EIDL Options. Does your business qualify?” by Management One (BRA Supporting Vendor Partner)

Have you taken advantage of the latest round of SBA loan options? There are 2 main Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Advances – called the Targeted EIDL Advance and Supplemental Targeted Advance. The Targeted EIDL Advance provides eligible businesses with $10,000 in total grant assistance. If you received the EIDL Advance last year in an amount less than $10,000, you may be eligible to receive the difference up to the full $10,000. The combined amount of the Targeted EIDL Advance and any previously received Advance will not exceed $10,000.Learn more about the Targeted EIDL Advance The Supplemental Targeted Advance provides the smallest and hardest hit eligible businesses with a supplemental payment of $5,000. Even if you have previously received the original EIDL Advance in the full amount of $10,000, you may be eligible for the Supplemental Targeted Advance if you meet eligibility criteria. The combined amount of the Supplemental Targeted Advance ($5,000) with any previously received EIDL Advance or Targeted EIDL Advance ($10,000) will not exceed $15,000. Learn more about the Supplemental Targeted Advance Free downloadable retail related tools can be accessed via: Please note that the link to this and other relevant Corona Virus related articles as well as links to helpful webinars, loans and other Covid 19 related resources can be found in The BRA Covid 19 Retailer Resource Guide, which was published in March and is still updated regularly. If you missed the most recent BRA Management One Collaborative Webinar, push play to view it now. Also stay tuned for the next BRA M1 Webinar, which will happen before the end of the 2nd Quarter. BRA note: We are... read more