The Fort & The Clubhouse
Owners: Jimmy and Amie Quintana
Date Founded: January 2014
Square Footage: 2000
Location: 23994 Aliso Creek Rd. Laguna Niguel, Calif.
For the past 17 years, Jimmy Quintana honed his retail skills as the manager and buyer at Laguna Surf and Sport. Earlier this year, Quintana— driven by his roots in skateboarding— started mulling over the idea of a lifestyle shop that caters to youth as well as adults. In January, The Fort & The Clubhouse took shape: “a space where brands of all sizes can receive the exposure they deserve,” according to Quintana.
“Being a small family business, we pride ourselves in the authentic relationships we have with our vendors by supporting brands that not only have strong hard goods, but impressive soft goods as well,” says Quintana. “We want our store to represent the often under-exposed elements of these multifaceted brands. We saw the opportunity to weave our well-known, core brands in with smaller independent ones for a unique shopping experience.”
The shop carries a diverse offering from brands within the skate industry and beyond, from Free People, Freshly Picked, and Children of the Tribe, to Nike SB, Vans, and Stance. The retailer says it’s seeing the most significant growth with the youth category. We caught up with Quintana to hear the details behind this quickly evolving business model.
Why did you see a need to fill a void in this particular market?
After my wife and I had our son, we wanted to fulfill the needs that the community has for a unique shop that aims towards every age. We wanted to create a trendsetting, family based, one stop shop, allowing everyone to feel comfortable in a core environment.
What are your top three most profitable product categories?
Kids, accessories, and footwear.
What aspect of the store has been driving the most growth recently?
The kids section has been driving a lot of growth. These groms bring their parents in, so its an opportunity for everyone to get what they need at one time. Another section that has been killing it for us is our accessories, specifically Helm Street Leather Goods and Jewelry.
What has been the single best-selling brand over the past six months?
Stance, they kill it for us!
What's your inventory breakdown look like in percentages:
• Hard goods: 20%
• Men's apparel: 20%
• Juniors and youth apparel: 30%
• Accessories: 10%
• Footwear 20%
Who are the top three reps that service your store and what makes them special?
• John Stratan from Vans- He literally help build our store- Big thanks to Ratboy construction!
• Garrett Turk from Stance- Life-long friend who we are stoked to be able to work with on a regular basis.
• Team BK from Crailtap- They know how to treat our whole crew like we are family.
What's your overall impression of the local market over the past six months?
It is great, and only getting better. I've been noticing a shift back to shopping locally. I think that people are more interested in shopping in their community. They don't just want the products we sell, they also want the experience.
We expect to keep growing and evolving as a versatile family business, and we are looking forward to collaborating with our community through the brands we carry and the events we host.
Is your shop working closer with any particular brands?
Yes, we have close relationships with Stance and Crailtap. The amazing thing about having a store that is so multi-dimensional is that we have relationships with so many different brands and we are looking forward to developing and nurturing new relationships as well.
What are some things brands are doing to work with your shop?
We have been super fortunate to have had so much support from the amazing brands we carry. We plan on collaborating with a different brand each month and hosting community events at the store or nearby skate park.
Any fun facts about your store:
We have an NBA Jam and 720 arcade game in our skate section. We have Stumptown coldbrew on tap.