Reign Skate Shop
2016 Old Lincoln Highway
Langhorne, PA 19047-3002
Reign Skate Shop skaters reigned supreme at this year’s Maloof Money Cup in Orange County, with co-owner and team rider Chris Cole taking first in the pro men division while in the am contest, Ishod Wair and Tom Asta went first and second. This shop is the perfect example of the what it means to the skateboard community for their local shop to have a strong presence come contest time. Co-owner of Reign Skate Shop, Skip Millard, took some time to speak with TransWorld about the “trials and tribulations” of opening the shop and how Reign came to be.
Give me a little background of yourself and how the shop got started.
I started coming up to [Philadelphia area] when there was an old shop in Philly in the early 90’s. A guy opened up G-Spott in PA in the late 90’s and that is how I originally met Chris [Cole], Ian [Berry], and Justin [Berry]. We all did our own thing, and I moved back here in '04 and then was repping for a while. We had talked about opening a shop for a while, and Chris Cole was always down. So we looked at a couple different areas, and these guys knew the area so we settled here. We got the keys July 10 and opened doors August 1. We are celebrating our one-year anniversary soon.
Since the opening of the shop what lessons have you learned?
Just all the little behind the scenes things, taxes and fire codes—crap like that. Everyone around the shop thinks since Chris is the partner we have unlimited cash but if that was the case I would just write myself a check. Really, just the trials and tribulations of opening a small business. There is no turning it off at 5-o’clock and sometimes you won’t get home until nine and have to put in another two hours. It’s a lot of hard work, but if you love doing it, it’s worth it.
I noticed you have an online store, how has that been working out?
Good, it’s growing every month a little more. Considering we are not doing two-page spreads in TransWorld, but Chris does everything [to make] sure people are seeing it and kids Google it. Chris is almost better than a double-page spread, but we would be doing those too if we had the extra money.
I saw that you and Thunder have a collaborative truck out, is that selling well?
Yeah, we are actually almost out of them. We did three hundred and now have less than 100 left, if that. There are only about 10 sets left in the shop.
Do you have any more collaborations going right now or any plans for the near future?
We have some with Zero and Mystery coming out about the same time as our one-year anniversary, August 21st, and we will have Chris, Jamie Thomas, James Hardy, Billy Marks, Tom Asta, Ishod Wair, and the rest the Reign team there. Steve Berra is also gonna come out and film the whole thing. It should be a good time, the neighbors are going to hate us, but it should be a good time because we can easily fit between three and 400 kids in parking lot.
What do you expect to retail well for the rest of 2010?
Hardgoods are constantly good and obviously for back to school footwear and apparel are our bread and butter. I expect everything to do well but our board [sales] are great.
We also get lots that don’t skate coming in to buy clothing and shoes, so that helps.
Are you planning to bring in any new brands next season?
Volcom and Insight will be showing up soon and we just started carrying RVCA and Domestics.
Who are your top local competitors?
Obviously the mall and big box stores. I’m just outside the mall; I could hit it with a rock. It is literally like ten seconds away. I can walk out our back door and see the mall, so they are our only real threat. So when we get guys that don’t know about the importance of supporting local shops, they go next door to the mall, but we wanted to be here for convenience and found a good deal on the shop that we couldn’t pass up. The next closest threat would be 20 miles away. Those small shops around us are our buddies, so we send them business when we don’t have something.
For the next six to twelve months, do you have a business strategy?
We are still new you know, so we are continually growing as a new shop and not looking at last year’s sales. We came into an already established market and took over for a shop that was here, so we are taking over their old customers and we worked at the other [shop] so we are growing where they weren’t. Every Saturday or Sunday we will get like 30 or 40 customers and half are new and just checking us out after hearing about us. We will focus on online sales. Then we will go into all the malls and open shops in every one! (laughs) Actually, I think CCS is already doing that, but I’m not worried. Chris will continue to ride and bring in new customers.
In general how has business been going lately?
Man, It’s been consistently 90 [degrees] and above here these last two weeks.
Has that helped sales?
It hinders it a bit I feel, because people don’t want to leave the house. It’s better than if it were all rainy and snowy, but even when it’s cold kids come out and skate still. Business has been good though.
Have you noticed any new trends out there lately?
Kids riding bigger boards… yeah, just the bigger thing. You can hardly get a seven and half from Girl anymore.
What are the top selling goods and which brands?
Kids got shoes for the end of summer and now are looking for their next pair. For back to school, people keep coming in for shoes too, and I tell them we are going to get more in. For a new shop though, we have about 110 shoes on the wall. As for which brand, definitely Fallen but it’s kind of a battle depending on what is in stock between Chris Cole’s pro model Troopers or Rippers. We just got in the new Ripper before anyone else and I know it will sell fast. Chris’s shoes sell fast, as do all Fallens for good reason.
Next would have to be skate decks. Anything Black Box, but Mystery has gotten a lot stronger in the last six months with Tom Asta officially on the team. The new color series are the most popular and anything 8″.
Also, Altamont premium shirts. Anything high-end with a super soft feel to it.