Instead of exhibiting at the Long Beach ASR show this year, NorCal’s Deluxe Distribution, Street Corner Distribution, and High Speed Productions decided to host their own alternative trade show in San Francisco the weekend before the ASR show.
Titled the Bayview Rumble, the event was held on January 18 and 19 in the parking lot of High Speed Productions, home of Thrasher, Slap, and Juxtapoz magazines.
Deluxe Skateboard Distribution pulled out of ASR shortly after the September 2002 ASR trade show in San Diego. To quote their flyer, “There we were, skateboarders stuck in the middle of this insane freak show that we didn’t want anything to do with anymore.”
At the Bayview Rumble, Deluxe had an open house, featuring all of their new hardgoods and softgoods in a faux-skate-shop setting. Complimentary Tecate beer and snacks were offered outside the video lounge that showed classic Deluxe videos. Tommy Guerrero even played a solo set on the loading dock.
A shuttle service using the actual Deluxe tour vans transported attendees to High Speed’s parking lot, where 33 skate companies displayed booths. In the center of the parking lot, a large tented lounge served as a chilling hub with free-flowing Pabst Blue Ribbon.
Attending retailers seemed pleased with the turnout and compared it to the ASR trade shows they’re used to. Coliseum’s Matt Roman feels it had a really positive atmosphere: “It was only skateboarding, you know? There weren’t security guards or people trying to sell you women’s swimwear.”
Trent Martin, of Phoenix’s Cowtown, was proud of the companies who turned their backs on ASR. “They (the exhibiting companies) took a stand and made something different.” Martin found the Rumble both productive and entertaining: “It was more fun and useful than ASR-it was small, and everyone was on an equal playing field.”
Oregon City, Oregon-based Ollie’s skateboards was in attendance, and based their decision to go on convenience. Owner Sandy Ormandy says, “I’ve never really gone to the (ASR) trade shows, but San Francisco was within driving distance, and we could fit it in a weekend.” Despite the casual air of the show, Ormandy admits she got more work done than planned: “I did place some orders, but I didn’t go down there planning to do that-I wanted to meet some of my reps more.”
Dandelion Bordow, co-owner of nearby Berkeley, California’s 510 skate shop, felt the relaxed environment was due to the presence of strictly skateboard brands: “It was totally different. Bayview was just so much more relaxed and more skateboard-community oriented (than ASR]. It was fun and a good chance for people to get together, hang out, and not be so serious.” While Bordow admits she got work done, she feels that wasn’t the point: “Work got done, but people could be there and have fun and not do work.”
So was it any more effective than ASR? “We didn’t write any new accounts,” says Santa Cruz-based NHS’ Jeff Kendall. “But it was good for our reps to be out there rubbing elbows, and it didn’t cost us anything to be there.”
Podium sales rep Sean Schumacher agrees: “It was really beneficial, not really for new accounts but accounts we’ve had-being able to show them the new lines. It was great because it was a skate thing-there was no snowboarding or anything else up there.”
Thrasher’s Marketing Director Lindsey Byrnes explains, “If we do this again, more people are gonna come because they realized you can do business even if you’re not under fluorescent lights or have the biggest, craziest booth. This was definitely a place where your product is speaking for itself because everybody had the same setup going on.
“ASR’s been considering making some changes, and if that came from us doing this (Bayview Rumble), then that’s great, because there should be some changes,” adds Byrnes.
One downside of a smaller show is the expenses incurred by the average retailer when there are multiple shows to attend. “The small shows aren’t set up to accommodate the retailer,” says Bordow, who started 510 with husband Jerry in 2000. If shows like the Bayview Rumble and the Coup D’État begin happening more frequently in different locales and on conflicting dates, they will become increasingly difficult for smaller retailers to attend. DNA Distribution and NHS recently hosted open houses as well.
With the success of the Bayview Rumble and the Coup D’État, there seems to be a growing interest and support for non-ASR gatherings. Perhaps guerrilla-style shows such as these could consolidate into a strictly skateboarding event that’s beneficial for both companies and retailers.