While The Beach House (just across the street from CI) gets a ton of foot traffic from tourists, CI gets more of the local ‘core surf crowd. It still sees its share of tourists — after all it’s situated in the heart of downtown Santa Barbara — but most of the customers are aware of the surf brands, and the definitely know who Al Merrick is. A peek at the ceiling reveals Merrick’s resume: there’s autographed boards from past and current teamriders like Slater, Machado, Knox, and Curren — ter all it’just to name a few.
CI sells minimally one board a day and about ten per day in the summer, according to associate Dustin Ward, who’s been working at the shop for just over a year. About a third of the sales floor is dedicated to surfboards (shortboards make up the majority of the shop’s quiver).
A quarter of the floor space holds men’s and boys apparel. The section is neatly merchandised. We took note that boardshorts and walkshorts were organized by color, not by brand. Some free-standing racks were separated by brand, however. Ward says that Volcom, Quiksilver, Billabong, and Hurley are the biggest sellers in men’s. Men’s softgoods contribute the most to the shop’s bottom line.
The girl’s section takes up about a similar amount of space on the left side of the store. Lucy Love has the window display out front, and for good reason: it’s the top juniors’ brand in the store, according to Christine Ayala, who handles girl’s merchandising. Hurley and Volcom girls also had a big presence.
Matty and Eve from Hurley and Rip Curl’s Andre Jacobaski were noted as the shop’s best reps.