Step into the foyer of The Beach House and an animated, life-size hula girl greets you. Her swishing hips point you to the mini Quikville in the foyer — on the left side Quiksilver, Roxy on the right. The mini Boardriders’ Club is stacked with wovens, fleece, walkshorts, T-shirts, and accessories ¿ enough stuff to outfit an entire tour bus.
The savvy shoppers will make their way past the hula girl’s trance and step into the main floor of The Beach House. Old brick walls line the shop. It reminds me of an old brewery ¿ complete with dark cement floors. From its high-beamed ceilings hang a host of classic longboards, adding a distinct flavor to the open building.There’s a big island in the middle of the shop made of glass display cases that are filled with watches, sunglasses, videos, wallets, and accessories and knick knacks for tourists.
The left-right theme of the Quikville continues on the main sales floor, with juniors’ hugging the right side of The Beach House and boys’/men’s taking care of the left side. While Roxy is by far the store’s biggest volume in juniors’, Girl Star and Rip Curl Girl are also present.
On the men’s side, HIC has noteworthy POP display in the center of the men’s section. Hurley, Rusty, Billabong, Tavarua, and Stussy also have sizeable displays. Employees Derek Ritz and Jeremy Woodal say that Roxy, Quiksilver, and Hurley are the strongest-selling brands. Clothing — especially Juniors’ — is the strongest category at The Beach House.
The sandals section is huge at The Beach House: Reef, Redley, Teva, Ocean Minded, Sanuk, Etnies, INT, just to name a few. Woodal says that nobody leaves the shop in the summer without buying a pair of sandals. A slight hyperbole, but you get the point.
Surfboards are in the back room, along with another secret room chock full of O’Neill and Rip Curl wetsuits. Boards aren’t a huge money-maker at The Beach House. However, with it’s on-the-beach location at the foot of State Street in downtown Santa Barbara, the tourist traffic drives bodyboard sales in the summer. And get this: those same people also buy skim boards (yes, skim boards!) like mad in the summer.
All in all, The Beach House gives the health of the surf market, juniors’, men’s/boys, footwear, and surfboards a seven out of ten. Wetsuits get eight out of ten. Woodal and Ritz give shout outs to Rip Curl’s “Schmide” and Andrew; O’Neill’s Matt Bovard; and Hurley’s Matty as the best reps in the area.