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The store front at Industrial in Mesa, Arizona.
TransWorld Business caught up with Industrial Rideshop’s co-owner Doug Butcher recently to learn more about the history of how the first shop got started and how the retailer expanded its presence in seven states. Here’s what Butcher had to say:
Are you the sole owner?
No, Kelly Barry and I started Industrial in 1996. Ray Barry, Kelly's brother joined us in 1998.
Do you have a flagship store?
No, we don’t really have a “flagship” store.
What was the location of the very first industrial Rideshop?
It was in Scottsdale, AZ. It was small, only about 1,000 square feet, and we moved it after three years to our Paradise Valley location which is still open.
What's the significance of the states you currently have shops in – were you trying to target a specific demographic or was it a natural progression of opening multiple-doors?
It was a natural progression. We currently have 18 locations with our on-line included.
For a complete list of store locations, and individual contact information, visit Industrial’s WEB SITE.
You're opening up in Boise, Idaho, this spring, right?
We have pushed the Boise store back to 2010 due to the state of the current economy.
Does each shop have a similar product layout and what products have a large presence on the sales floor?
Each store carries pretty much the same product as all the other Industrials. Footwear has a large presence in our stores.
When did you start the online business?
Do you have a mailer/catalog?
Approximately how many employees do you have, total?
As the owner, what's your day-to-day like?
I am still very involved with the footwear buying, day to day operations and the marketing of Industrial.
Do you try to visit all the stores, or do you let them operate under their managers?
I try to visit stores as much as possible. The management staff we have does an amazing job. They fully have it under control.
What's the average size of your shops?
Our average store is about 2,500 square feet.
How did you get into retail?
Growing up Kelly and I had always been into skating, surfing, moto, snowboarding and BMX. We grew up going to Sidewalk Surfer to get all our shit. One day Kelly's mom says we should open a store like Sidewalk. We thought about it for a minute and did!
Did you work retail before opening your own shop?
Not at all.
What percentage of your business is online vs. brick and mortar?
Our stores make up the majority of our sales for sure.
What products are currently your top performers online?
Footwear and hardgoods
The quickstrike deals section is an interesting part of the site. Is it effective?
Our Quickstrike deals have been very effective so far at helping us get rid of old inventory.
What percentage of your inventory is dedicated to:
3. accessories (sunglasses, watches, bags, etc)?
What are the top three most profitable product categories?
Footwear, apparel and accessories
Top three best selling brands from each category?
For footwear it would be Vans, Nike SB and DVS. In apparel, Volcom, Matix and Krew do well. With accessories it would have to be Nixon, Electric and Spy.
Who are the top three reps that service your store, and why?
This is an easy one to answer, they all are and I will tell you why. We have high expectations of our Reps and hold them accountable. They must know our business inside and out. Our business isn't the same as it was 5 years ago when you just had to open the doors and have shoes on the wall. We are fortunate to have what I feel are some of the top Reps in the industry.
What has been the single best-selling brand over the past six months?
What's your overall description of the local market over the past six months?
It's been tough for sure but our customers are very loyal to Industrial. We have always provided excellent customer service and we have always given them the best products at a fair price.
What do you see, in a macro sense, as far as the retail landscape?
It's starting to turn for sure. The landscape will look completely different a year from now, a lot of shops are struggling right now, small and big both. If you haven't made money in the skate business in the last 5 years you've been asleep at the wheel. The next five are going to show how good you really are, Industrial will be here in 5, 10, 20 years from now. The manufacturers really need to keep a close eye on distribution. Dilliard's, Macy's, Ross? Come on guys, think 10 years ahead not 10 minutes….
Have you altered the way you buy for 09? If so, how?
We haven't altered the way we buy at all. We have the best buyers in the business in my opinion. They know their shit.
Kids compete in the Salt Lake City showdown, a contest that was held at Industrial’s Utah shop after being snowed out of the outdoor location.
Are you working closer with any particular brands to strengthen relationships?
We have always maintained great relationships with our vendors. We have always tried to make it a win-win situation for both.
What are some things brands are doing to work with your shop (demos, SMU's, Colorways, etc.?)
The main thing we push them for is to participate in our "Come skate with us" day. We do this every month, they bring out a couple of team guys, cook some hot dogs and skate.
As you’ve probably heard a lot of businesses are struggling right now within the industry, such as Active, which had to close a handful of its shops and recently filed for Chapter 11. Have you had to consider shutting down any under performing locations due to the tough economic times?
No we haven't. We have been very fortunate. I have a ton of respect for the Active crew. When you stand back and look at what they have done in this industry it's pretty amazing. What they are going through could happen to any one of us. We have never been through times like this.