Surf Expo: Retailer Reflections Trade Show in Orlando, Florida

How were sales this summer? “We looked at sales at the end of the summer and we were up fourteen percent for the year, so we’re definitely going to be increasing our spring orders. We’ve got a big store — 4,000 square feet – so for a store that size and the amount of money that we do dollarwise, that’s a pretty good increase. We thought the hurricane seasons the last couple of years would have hurt us — it didn’t phase us. It’s turned out real well.” – Chuck Mabry, Aussie Island Surf Shop, Wilmington, North Carolina

“Sales were good. But you can’t count on an increase anymore. That ended in ’89.” — Bruce Davies, buyer, Island Shop, Indian Rock Beach, Florida

“It’s been really busy. Sales are up. Probably over the entire summer we were up twenty percent. It’s pretty good. Sandals and ladies swimwear were unbelievable this summer.” — Tony Butler, Sweetwater Surf Shop, Wrightsville Beach, Florida

“We’re on the West Coast of Florida so surfboards aren’t going as much as skate apparel. We probably sell about three boards a week.” — John Best, buyer, Florida Oceansports, St. Petersberg, Florida

“Sales have been up the last couple of years and they’ve just been steady. I think they’ve reached a peak and that’s where they’ve been staying.” — Noel Whitman, Kai Surf Shop, Pensacola, Florida.

What’s impressed you the most so far at Surf Expo? “I think the vibe of the show is great. I just came from ASR where there was a huge skate vibe. Here it’s a little more mainstream surf. I think Volcom looked insane, maybe the best the booth of the show, as far as product, by far was Billabong. I really like the fact that the department stores are getting out of the surf business and I think spring is going to be awesome because the authentic stores are really going to have an edge back in the market.” — John Sabo, senior buyer, Ron Jon Surf Shop, Cocoa Beach, Florida “The Op booth. It’s just neat.”

— Chuck Adams, Big Kahuna Surf, Daytona Beach, Florida

“This is our first show so it’s all overwhelming to us. I go right to the Op one every time. All the modeling things … it’s pretty impressive. And the events they have here are pretty cool.” — Tom Collins, Ocean Surf Shop, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“We’ve been real impressed with all the women’s lines. Op’s exhibit was well done. Everyone’s been real helpful.” — Chris Clayton, Ocean Surf Shop, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

“Billabong girls’ swim looked real good.” –Keri Sheeham, Sunrise Surf Shop, Jacksonville, Florida

“Well, of course the big names like Quiksilver and what not, but I think I’m more impressed with some of the smaller names because this is the first year that I’ve owned a surf shop so seeing some of these smaller accounts — Hurley — they’re just going off. They’re coming out with newer and better things. These smaller companies are jacking up and giving them Quik a little bit of competition and I think it’s pretty cool.” — Merrilee Lister, manager, Bucks Surf & Sport, Pensacola, Florida.