You can’t fight city hall — just ask Joe Burke, owner of Isla Vista Surf Company. Burke was nearly ready to sign a lease on a larger building — a 3,000 square-foot location just across the stret from his existing 2,000 square-foot location — when the University of California at Santa Barbara swooped in and bought the building out from underneath him.
[IMAGE 2]It’s a typical situation in a college town, but Burke can hardly complain since it’s the University that supplies IV Surf Co. its ready-made supply of customers. And ultimately it’s these eager-to-buy college students that have allowed Burke to split his girls’ business off to another location (at the “Sugar Shack”) down the street.
Like his business, the brands Burke carries, have also expanded. In fact, in the past the large “Billabong” POP sign over the shop’s transom and the preponderance of Billabong product in the store meant that some of his mail was actually addressed “Billabong” — people just thought that was the shop’s name.
Now the shop carries most of the top brands. O’Neill, Quiksilver, Volcom, Hurley, Split are in the store (although Billabong still rules, “killing it,” as Burke describes it.)
Boards hang from the ceilings — out of reach from the type of “rail pinching” yahoos that left pressure dings on the boards when they were up against the wall. Now Burke and shop employee Whitey says the boards are easy to see and easier to sell — the fun shapes especially popular with some of the newer surfers attending UCSB.
[IMAGE 1]**** Just The Facts Ma’am ****
Window Brands: Split, Reef, Billabong, Globe, O’Neill
Major Display Brands: Billabong, O’Neill (apparel and wetsuits) Quiksilver, Hurley, Volcom, Split.
Strongest Category: Long-sleeved T-shirts and hooded fleece.
Weakest Category: Walkshorts and surf trunks.
Bests Rep(s): Matt (O’Neill), Kevin (Billabong), Willy Morris.
Hottest Brand(s): Billabong, Quiksilver
Critical Issues Facing The Surf Industry: “Too many brand operate as their own tiny fiefdom instead of looking at and dealing with the larger issues facing the surf industry — especially issues like water quality and pollution.”
[IMAGE 3]On A Scale Of 1 to 10, Rate:
Health of the surf sales: 8
Health of girls sales: 9
Helath of men’s apparel sales: 7
Health of wetsuit sales: 7
Health of footwear sales: 8
Health of surfboard sales: 5