As one of the South Bay’s leading shops, Spyder surfboards has had a front-row seat to the surf industry’s ebbs, flows, and steady growth since 1978. And while the current economic situation isn’t ideal, Coowner Dickie O’Reilly is still optimistic: “We’re not hitting the gross sales volume that we were last year, but the bottom line is that things are still good.”
While some shops are trimming lines, Spyder is bringing more in — especially for its more fashion-driven location at Pier Plaza. “We do also more of the fashiony stuff at this location,” says O’Reilly, “so we’re now carrying brands like BC Ethic, 55 DSL, Ben Sherman, Aaron Chang, and Solitude.” [IMAGE 1]
The pier location is slick, apparel driven, and geared primarily toward seasonal summer sales. The sister shop, located less than a mile away, is a more homegrown surf shop with a deep selection of hardgoods. Each shop caters to a different clientele, but at the end of the year both shops do roughly the same amount of business says O’Reilly.
O’Reilly points out that the South Bay is its own unique surf market, with its own unique trends and preferences: “Often times reps who service us and Orange County come through with something that might be on fire down south, and it wouldn’t check here.” Because of this, he says companies with dedicated South Bay reps invariably do better in his stores.
Spyder’s hottest selling item, however, is the same as many stores: the Osiris D3. Spyder’s footwear collection is broad and deep, but O’Reilly says he’s beginning to see that market soften. “I’m starting to see a glut of product on the market,” he says. “It used to be that all the shoes we put on the sale pile would go. Now the moms and kids are way more selective. We still have 120 shoes on the wall, but there’re twenty that really do the bulk of our business. The other 100 are just fluff, and that sucks.”
O’Reilly’s also closely watching the juniors’ department, but he says sales are holding up nicely so far. “I’m here in the holiday season worried that my inventory levels are too high and then I go through the juniors’ side and there are empty spots in the racks,” he says. “We’re doing great with women’s sweatshirts — across the board: Hurley, Roxy, Volcom. Then there’s specific pants that still are selling well like the Hurley Lowrider pant.”[IMAGE 3]
So what’s not checking? Spyder, like some other shops in the region, are having trouble moving denim. “It’s a price-point issue,” says O’Reilly. “Fashion denim worked really well on the ladies side, but there’s not enough guys willing to spend that type on money on a pair of jeans.”
Window Brand: Hurley
Major Display Brands: Quiksilver, Oakley, Ezekiel, Reef, Hurley, Volcom, O’Neill, Diesel, Paul Frank.
Stongest Category: Osiris D3, women’s hooded sweatshirts.
Weakest Category: Denim
Strongest Brand: Quiksilver
Best Reps: Matt Walls (Dragon), Jay Lightburn (Quiksilver)