Everyone comes to Jack’s.
It’s hard to walk into the Jack’s Surfboards location on Main Street in Huntington Beach, California without bumping into someone from the surf industry. It’s one of the most popular places in the world to lift a moist index finger and see which direction the surf-industry winds are blowing.
So it’s not surprising to bump into O’Neill CEO Pat O’Neill and VP of Accessories Rick Petri at Jack’s on the morning of March 9. What’s surprising, however, is where they’re standing.
In what will be the largest expansion and redesign of the store since 1992, Jack’s has assumed the lease and taken over the 3,500 square feet of retail space adjacent to their store where Burger King was located. Now O’Neill and Petri are standing in the large walk-in freezer where hamburger patties were once stored, listening to Bobbie and Ron Abdulfattah, the owners of Jack’s, explain the renovation.
In addition to tearing down the wall between Jack’s and Burger King and expanding the shop’s mezzanine, Bobbie says there will be two new cash-wrap areas, new displays and buildouts, and new hardwood floors throughout the store. “A lot of people will come to the shop in three or four months, and they won’t recognize the store.
Bobbie says the expansion will allow Jack’s Garage—the skatecentric sublocation currently a few doors down—to be moved onto the main floor. The wall currently separating Jack’s Girls from Jack’s Garage will be torn down, allowing for a significant expansion of Jack’s Girls.
Most brands will also get more room on the main sales floor after the remodel. Volcom and Hurley are getting new buildouts. “We would like to give more representation to the big companies, and give a chance to the small companies to be on the main floor, says Bobbie. Currently many of the smaller brands are only found at Jack’s Garage. “The hardest thing for me as a buyer is seeing a new brand and then walking out onto the floor and trying to figure out where I could put them.
A few years ago there seemed to be a need to separate the skate and surf offerings, but Bobbie says the market has changed. “I’ve always believed in the surf market more than anything, he says. “Three or four years ago at the Cabo Surf Summit, that was my argument with a lot of people. Nothing will ever beat surf–unless you are a retailer in the Midwest somewhere.
Bobbie hopes the new expansion will be open by the end of May and doesn’t anticipate having to close the main location during renovations.
While he’s excited about the renovation, which will carry the total square footage of the store past the 15,000-square-foot mark, he’s still eyeing more retail space. If Jack’s could take over the Jamba Juice location next door, it would be able to link all the components of store into one contiguous floor plan: “That’s a very good space, and we’ve been talking to them, but things haven’t gone through yet. But someday hopefully it will.
For now though, it seems the owners of one of surfing’s most visible shops have enough on their plate to keep them busy. Bobbie says the move highlights the current strength of the surf industry and the recent record sales of Jack’s, but laughs that he’ll have to work harder than ever to pay for it all: “But this is 2004. We have to keep up.