By Roger Harrell
The search for new product lines is a top-secret mission at Wave Riding Vehicles in Virginia Beach, Virginia. “We react quickly to new brands we think have the potential to do well and that gives us an edge on our competition,” says General Manager Dave Lewis. Not wanting to divulge his newest prospects, Lewis says they research new lines and do as much as 65 percent of their buying at trade shows. The remaining 35 percent is done in the store with area sales reps. WRV’s most important buying show is Surf Expo, which they visit twice a year, but he adds they also attend MAGIC in Las Vegas and ASR in Long Beach.
Solitude and Premiere are two new clothing lines that Manager Brian Wolfe has brought into Saltwater Surf Shop in Jacksonville, North Carolina. “We’ll jump on a new brand and give it a chance. If it doesn’t check that well, we move on to the next brand,” says Wolfe. He says their buying is split between trade shows and at the store. They attend both the Surf Expo shows in Orlando and a few local shows such as the B-Rad Show.
Owner Dan Brooks of Sunrise Surf Shop in Jacksonville Beach, Florida, has been experimenting with new accessory lines such as Nixon and Diakka watches and has been having steady sales. The Realm and Hurley have been his newest softgoods additions and have been very solid as well.
“The trade shows have a very busy atmosphere and we tend to only write five to ten percent of our orders there,” says Brooks. “The more relaxed atmosphere of the shop seems to get the pen loosened up, and we like the reps coming in so they have a good feel for the vibe in the shop.” When they do write orders at trade shows it’s at both Surf Expo shows.
Mambo Surf Shop in San Juan, Puerto Rico has recently brought XYZ clothing in to bridge the gap between surf and skate customers.
“We attend all the major trade shows but write only half of our orders at the shows,” says Owner Pepe Mojena. “The other half is done with reps during in-store visits.”
For Innerlight Surf and Skate in Pensacola, Florida, Hurley is the biggest new brand in the store. Store Manager Mike Bazerque says they’re also keeping a close eye on all the new fin systems and accessories.
“Surf Expo is really the only trade show we attend, but we’ve gone to ASR in San Diego a few times,” Bazerque says. At Surf Expo Bazerque will do only 25 percent of his buying for the season. The remainder is done in store via reps or over the phone with in-house reps.