Owner: Brennan Wiens and Aaron Kienle
Date Opened: 2003
Number of Storefronts: 2
Location(s): Yorkton, Saskatchewan
Editors Note: For the next month, TransWorld Business is bringing you a different shop profile every day as part of our 30 Shops in 30 Days series, presented by Bustin' Boards. Keep an eye out all month for more shop spotlights from across the country.
Friends Brennan Wiens and Aaron Kienle started a skate and snowboarding shop a decade ago in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, and today that business has evolved, becoming not only retail-driven, but their own brand, as well. The shop has expanded to two locations, the original in the city’s local mall and the second in a 100-year-old heritage building in the core of downtown, which opened four years ago. Both locations are 1,300 square-feet and carry a similar mix of skate and snow hardgoods, apparel, and accessories.
About why they started Cab, Wiens says: “Skateboarding and snowboarding have always been our obsession since we were young.” The pair had some shop experience before jumping into the retail game, but say the real impetus behind launching Cab was the demand they were seeing in their hometown for the type of skate and snow specific products they currently stock and manufacture.
Wiens recently downloaded on what brands and products have been at the heart of growth for the retailer, as well as what he thinks companies in the industry can do to better support shops in the future.
What are your top three most profitable product categories?
Mens apparel, accessories & footwear
What has been the single best-selling brand over the past six months?
Volcom continues to always be at the top of our POS reports.
Who are the top three reps that service your store and what makes them special?
Drew McOuat – Vans – Tours the territory every single season and always down to sponsor events and have a beer or 10.
Dickson Li – Dragon – Tours the territory twice a year and loves to do PK's with the staff and make his industry famous chicken.
The Group – Suggs, Darse, Dickman, Wilson, and Browner. Heavy Crew of beauties and always down to figure things out.
Percentage of inventory dedicated to:
men’s apparel? 40%
junior’s apparel? 10%
What is your overall impression of the local market over the past six months?
It's been a really weird weather year. Our winter was very long and cold -30 C and went till the end of April. When spring did come we got tons of rain and at the end of June our community was flooded out with millions and millions in damages. July was cold and rainy. We finally got the summer we should have gotten here in August.
What store (or multiple stores) are your closest competition?
The newest, biggest one is Sport Chek a huge national retailer that carries a few of our top selling brands, but their low selection and disheveled service should keep the customers coming our way.
Overall expectations for your business over the next 6-12 months?
We will have to adjust our buys and things should stay fairly consistent.
Are you altering your buying for next season?
We are reducing our pre-books and leaving more room for in-season purchases. We need to be able to meet our customers demand for certain products in-season and if our cash flow is tied up with pre-books we are losing sales.
The industry feels broken. Brands now give you no time to actually write orders and all have deadlines within days of the show. If your brand needs so many more months lead time maybe it's time they pre-book the product and carry the risk. Brands putting all the risk on the retailer isn't going to work anymore. Brands seem like they are no longer content just making decent money and loving what they do. They are on a push for constant growth and have opened way too many doors, flooded the market with their product, and took away the cool factor our customers used to get by seeking out local shops.
Is your shop working closer with any particular brands?
Over the last 24 months, our shop branded product has slowly crept up into our top 5 list. Tees, Hats, Hoodies, Decks, Accessories. We spent 10 years building a customer base and if brands are going to continue to take sales from the independent retailer, then we are finding we can sell our own product just as fast if not faster than some brands.
What are some things brands are doing to work with your shop?
Provide window wraps and displays. Our territory is huge so for a good portion of reps it’s very expensive to travel 2500 km oneway to see accounts in the region.
Favorite local/ best kept secret skate spot?
Our community is located on the very flat prairies so we don't tend to have many stair sets or spots in the city outside of the skatepark…but if you drive about 15 min out, there is an old abandoned town (I won't say the name) that has a DIY spot built in the old community centre. Quarter pipe, spine, wall ride. It’s a cool sketchy spot to show any crew traveling through.
Most infamous customer?
I'll change that to most famous customer. It's our good friend Jess Moskaluke! She is a very talented singer from the area and has always been a supporter of the shop and part of the #cabfamily. She was recently nominated for the Canadian Country Music Association Female Artist of the Year. With 150,000 subscribers on youtube and over 13 million views she is heading in the right direction!
What song best describes your shop?
It's a long way to the top – AC/DC
Your best day skating:
Any day when the homies are around.
Most memorable day at the shop:
Everyday! being able to take our dream and make it a reality over the last 10 years. We are truly thankful.