Retail Wednesdays: Katin Surf Shop

Editors Note: We are proud to present a new series, Retail Wednesdays, powered by our friends over at Building the Revolution. Each week we’ll profile a different core specialty retailer. Most would agree these guys are the backbone of our industry, and deserve serious credit in evolving to fit the needs of a rapidly changing market. 

satin surf shop
Katie Surf Shop General Manager Jesse Watson and shop dog Finn.

Retailer: Katin Surf Shop
Location: Surfside, CA
Years in Business: 63
Interviewee: Jesse Watson
Job Title: General Manager

How was business over the past 360 days?

We are pretty much even with our numbers compared to last year. I’ll take that, considering how wet this winter was. I feel like most people were heading to the mountains instead of the beaches.

Sato Hughes and Bob Baird reminiscing about when they worked under the same roof #legendsofkatin

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RELATED: Katin: a brand that blends heritage and surf’s new guard

What are you doing to evolve with todays retail market?

We are constantly evolving to read trends and customer demands. Sometimes that means backing off on pre-books and relying on what’s working in season, or getting behind something we think will be the next big thing.

We try to keep the sales floor fresh and change the look of the store a few times a year, as well. If something you’re doing isn’t working you gotta take a step back and re-evaluate what the game plan is. If you’re not able to adapt, it can really hurt you.

We are always kicking around ideas of how we can keep the customer engaged and coming back to the store. We’ve done a couple board swaps in the last year that were pretty fun.

How do you feel brands can better assist brick and mortar?

I feel like building specialty lines for core shops, that you can’t get in bigger retailers or online, is a step in the right direction.

I would also like to see a portion of online sales get credited back to local shops. For example if a customer is shopping online, they go on and pick the shop that’s closest and or their favorite shop. That shop gets some kind of credit kicked to them if the customer makes a purchase.

We’ve had success with branded events as well, whether it’s movie premieres or barbecues, it’s something that needs to keep happening to keep the customers stoked.

Team rider / shop employee extraordinaire @fran_van and @ecsurfboards runnin the coast! #teamkatin

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What is the future for Surf Shops?

The thing that sets surf shops apart from big retailers and online stores is the human experience—being able to come in and talk to real surfers that know their shit.

As long as you can provide top notch customer service and create and maintain relationships with your customers then the future looks bright. Surfing seems to still be growing and I don’t see that changing anytime soon.