Everyone comes to Jacks.
Its hard to walk into the Jacks Surfboards location on Main Street in Huntington Beach, California without bumping into someone from the surf industry. Its one of the most popular places in the world to lift a moist index finger and see which direction the surf-industry winds are blowing.
So its not surprising to bump into ONeill CEO Pat ONeill and VP of Accessories Rick Petri at Jacks on the morning of March 9. Whats surprising, however, is where theyre standing.
In what will be the largest expansion and redesign of the store since 1992, Jacks has assumed the lease and taken over the 3,500 square feet of retail space adjacent to their store where Burger King was located. Now ONeill and Petri are standing in the large walk-in freezer where hamburger patties were once stored, listening to Bobbie and Ron Abdulfattah, the owners of Jacks, explain the renovation.
In addition to tearing down the wall between Jacks and Burger King and expanding the shops mezzanine, Bobbie says there will be two new cash-wrap areas, new displays and buildouts, and new hardwood floors throughout the store. A lot of people will come to the shop in three or four months, and they wont recognize the store.
Bobbie says the expansion will allow Jacks Garagethe skatecentric sublocation currently a few doors downto be moved onto the main floor. The wall currently separating Jacks Girls from Jacks Garage will be torn down, allowing for a significant expansion of Jacks Girls.
Most brands will also get more room on the main sales floor after the remodel. Volcom and Hurley are getting new buildouts. We would like to give more representation to the big companies, and give a chance to the small companies to be on the main floor, says Bobbie. Currently many of the smaller brands are only found at Jacks Garage. The hardest thing for me as a buyer is seeing a new brand and then walking out onto the floor and trying to figure out where I could put them.
A few years ago there seemed to be a need to separate the skate and surf offerings, but Bobbie says the market has changed. Ive always believed in the surf market more than anything, he says. Three or four years ago at the Cabo Surf Summit, that was my argument with a lot of people. Nothing will ever beat surf–unless you are a retailer in the Midwest somewhere.
Bobbie hopes the new expansion will be open by the end of May and doesnt anticipate having to close the main location during renovations.
While hes excited about the renovation, which will carry the total square footage of the store past the 15,000-square-foot mark, hes still eyeing more retail space. If Jacks could take over the Jamba Juice location next door, it would be able to link all the components of store into one contiguous floor plan: Thats a very good space, and weve been talking to them, but things havent gone through yet. But someday hopefully it will.
For now though, it seems the owners of one of surfings most visible shops have enough on their plate to keep them busy. Bobbie says the move highlights the current strength of the surf industry and the recent record sales of Jacks, but laughs that hell have to work harder than ever to pay for it all: But this is 2004. We have to keep up.