With La Niña coming in strong, the Boardroom in Vancouver, British Columbia is having a very busy winter. The Boardroom has been serving downtown Vancouver snowboarders for 21 years and North Vancouver for ten. Store Manager/Hardgoods Buyer Fred Glackmeyer says that so far this season has been rock solid due in large part to early mountain openings.
Glackmeyer says that despite having the world's eyes on their city for the Olympics, last season's business actually died off after a big November. However, Glackmeyer adds that the fabled "Olympic Bump" seems to be coming true; "I think we're seeing a delayed benefit. And hopefully that's a delayed benefit for some years."
That benefit is being felt in more way than one at this core Vancouver retailer. It’s efforts earned it the 2010 TransWorld Business Regional Retailer of the Year award for Canada. This year’s TransWorld Business Industry and Retail Awards were based on a two-part survey, Industry VIP and People’s Choice Nominations, that reached out to more than 4,000 industry execs, shops, and reps to find out who is doing the best job of creating solutions to the problems the industry faces through a variety of strategies. For a full look at this year’s awards, pick up a copy of our January issue.
We caught up with owner Murray Fraser to get his reaction and find out why Boardroom has played a major role in the action sports community over the years.
“When I received notice of The Boardroom winning the Transworld Business Regional Retailer of the Year Award, I had to do a "double take". Pear (The Boardroom General Manager) and I were at the Vans Triple Crown of Surf contest, when we received the good news. There are so many great snowboard shops across Canada, it is an honor to be noticed as one of the best shops in the country. There has been so many people contributing to the success of the Boardroom over the years that is has been a work in progress to get to where we are today. I am proud of the fact that some key staff have moved on to work in the Action Sports Industry and many are still involved in the Boardroom today.
From the beginning I have always believed in snowboarding. At the Boardroom we provide snowboarders with choices by providing them with a great selection of products. The managers and sales staff are personally committed to getting riders outfitted with the right product at the right price for the rider's personal wants and needs. Knowledgeable staff supported by great sales reps has been a critical component of the Boardroom's evolution over the years.
It's interesting that the Boardroom held the 1st Snowboard contest on the local mountains at Cypress in 1990 and 20 years later the Olympics half pipe contest was held at the same location.
Thank you from everyone at the Boardroom.”
The Boardroom has set itself apart by supporting up-and-coming brands. "From day one that has shaped our shop to have to be a little bit more creative—a little more informative," explains Glackmeyer.
Fraser adds that this focus requires a coordinated approach; "Our reps have always supported us and provided our staff with the tools and knowledge to facilitate the sales of a diverse product range."
The Boardroom got its foothold as a hardgoods-focused retailer and boards, boots, and bindings have been its hottest selling categories this year. For boards, Lib/Gnu, Endeavor, Never Summer, Forum, and Ride are topping the bill. Vans and ThirtyTwo are the top boot brands and Union, Ride, and Flux are the most wanted bindings. The Boardroom's two locations have also expanded their outerwear and accessories business significantly over the years and Holden, Special Blend, Dragon, and Airhole are keeping those categories strong.
High end product has also been checking; "We're not struggling to get rid of anything expensive on the wall and in fact it's moving really well," adds Glackmeyer, whose shop is looking to expand its women's selection for 11/12.