Bikle’s Snow, Surf & Skate
Owner: Ryan Daughtridge
Date Opened: 1912
Number of Storefronts: 1
Location(s): Hagerstown, MD
Editors Note: For the next month, TransWorld Business is bringing you a different shop profile every day as part of our 30 Shops in 30 Days series, presented by Bustin' Boards. Keep an eye out all month for more shop spotlights from across the country.
We talked with Bikles Snow, Surf & Skate Owner Ryan Daughtridge to hear more about the shop’s history, what the product mix looks like, what’s selling at the moment, and many more interesting details behind the century-old retail space.
How long has your store been around?
102 years! The shop was founded as Bikle’s Shoe Shop at 5 North Potomac Street in Hagerstown. It transitioned to Bikle’s Ski Shop when skiing was invented and popularized because the owner, Bill Sr., became obsessed with the new founded sport and wanted to share it with the world. During the transition to a Ski Shop the business moved one building down to 3 North Potomac Street. In 2013 Bill Jr. decided to retire and Bustin Boards took over the shop transforming once again to Bikle’s Snow, Skate & Surf Shop. We also moved it one more building down to 1 North Potomac Street. We’re hoping we can keep it going for another 100 years!
Number of locations?
Here’s a small tour inside Bikle’s:
Do you have an online store?
Nope, we’re simple folk and Amazon is scary.
Definitely Bastien Salabanzi. You know, he’s an animal on that skateboard so that counts right?
What song best describes your shop?
Electric Feel – MGMT. We like to keep it upbeat. Plus when we first got our location, I’m pretty sure the wiring was wonky and we almost electrocuted one of the guys by accident.
Experience before opening your own shop?
We also run Bustin Boards Skate Company so there is a lot of crossover. For many of us at Bustin, Bikle’s was our local shop growing up and we were stoked to have the opportunity to save the shop and re-invent it as a more skate-friendly snowboard shop.
Where can we find you on your lunch break?
Greens n’ Grains. We aren’t super health nuts or anything, but we love supporting local!
Favorite local place to grab a beer?
The Broad Axe. They have killer deep fried ribs and there’s always something good on tap.
What percentage of your inventory is dedicated to the following:
Men’s apparel? 20%
Junior’s apparel? 5%
What are your top three most profitable product categories?
Goggles, Gloves and Tuning/Service Work
Your best day skating/surfing/snowboarding?
My last bluebird day at Snowbird in Utah. Epic Pow
Favorite skate/surf/snow film?
The Art of Flight. Predictable, we know. But undeniably legendary.
Who are the top three reps that service your store and what makes them special?
Chris Harden, GNU/Lib-tech – Chris is just flat-out very good at his job, keeping us up to date and bringing some humor to the equation.
Kent Fried, Atomac – Kent is super objective, not the hard-sell type. I guess you could say he doesn’t push his products as much as he pushes the sport which is important to us.
Steve Roche, Rossignol – Steve and his team take the cake as the best all-around customer service experience. They have amazing attention to detail and follow through!
What is your overall impression of the local market over the past six months?
Winter was epic on the East Coast so people are amped on snow sports. This has been Bikle’s first year transitioning heavily into skate and surf so its been slow, but people are catching on. We love the brands and products we carry and I think it shows to our customers. In a small town like Hagerstown, there isn’t much original retail and most people are getting tired of chain stores and big-box offerings. Plus we do a lot for the community and the effort to revitalize our downtown and I think people show appreciation by supporting us.
What store is your closest competition?
PitCrew in Frederick is untouchable and we love them for it. Many of us would not be skaters if it weren’t for them and we work hard to co-exist peacefully with them. They are like our big brother so they’ll probably punch us when they read this.
Overall expectations for your business over the next 6-12 months?
Very excited rolling into winter. We understand the shop better and our marketing is getting stronger and more consistent. There are also alot of great things going on in our town and we are excited to see a movement happening of people coming to support independent shops.
Is your shop altering the way you buy for 2014?
Not really, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. We aren’t getting too bullish about winter despite the hype from a big winter last year. We’re playing it safe and making sure we just offer great service and sell the majority of what we buy!
What are some things brands are doing to work with your shop?
Mostly just offering great pre-book incentives and staying in touch. We’re small so we arent anyone’s golden (or even bronze) account, but we have a cool shop with a solid customer base near two mountains.
If you could have any superpower what would it be?
Probably invincibility, then we could downhill without roadrashaphobia!
Last time you caught a shop lifter?
We had to put on our karate gi’s and fight to the death in a circle of our ninja peers. Sort of like a Bruce Lee movie.
What would you do with a $1 million dollars?
Pay off Mortgage/ take a snowboarding trip to Japan/ Donate to charity.
For more information: Bikle’s, 1 N. Potomac Street, Hagerstown, MD 21740 www.bikles.com or (240) 707-6100