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Old 03-01-2013, 02:59 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Thinking of opening a new store - Advice from owners?

Hello,

So I am thinking about pursuing a life long dream of opening my own boardshop. Tired of slaving away to someone else. Ready to do it on my own.

Now, my initial thought it to open a boardshop in my hometown. The market is a decent size and not too many competitors locally. None in the immediate area.

I am looking for any advice from shop owners that were in my position in the past. Anything that you wish that you had known when you opened your first shop? What was the hardest part of owning a shop? Any advice at all? Thank you ahead of time for your advice and suggestions.

Trolls need not apply. Just looking to pick some brains. Feel free to PM if you don't want it out in the open.

Last edited by jbernste03; 03-01-2013 at 03:15 PM.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:21 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I would imagine owning a local boardshop is similiar to owning a race team.

I you want to make a small fortune you start with a large one.

I think to be competitive in this marketplace, you need to have online sales and EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE in the shop!
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:30 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by racer357 View Post
I would imagine owning a local boardshop is similiar to owning a race team.

I you want to make a small fortune you start with a large one.

I think to be competitive in this marketplace, you need to have online sales and EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE in the shop!
Valid points. I have a few online stores that bring in decent money, so I know the online sales side. The other stores are online art stores.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:47 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hm, if I were to be the one opening a boardshop, there are a couple things I would be doing:
1. Think, who's boards/boots/bindings/other stuff are you going to be selling?
1a. If you're going to sell Burton, try getting Restricted status, there's some neat gear to be had that's only at Restricted dealers.
2. Any services you'd be doing? I.e., edge de-tuning, waxing, repairs, setup, ect.
3. Make yourself known once the place is open. Spread the word to your friends & family who snowboard, heck, I would even be on here asking the people of the area for a visit!
4. When you need some staff, you need friendly, competent, and who snowboard themselves. Don't look for a guy who could get anyone to buy a Burton Mystery, because they can sell stuff. They won't be good for the shop's reputation. Look for guys who have a little experience, who have ridden for a long time, and compose your team of riders with different styles, so if say, I come in looking for park advice, you can send the guy who rides a ton of park out there, and if a notorious freerider comes in, you can send the guy who does a ton of freeriding to help him out.

That's my advice, but I don't own a shop, much less work at one. I'm just applying common sense and some experience at the local shop.
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:51 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bullboy145 View Post
Hm, if I were to be the one opening a boardshop, there are a couple things I would be doing:
1. Think, who's boards/boots/bindings/other stuff are you going to be selling?
1a. If you're going to sell Burton, try getting Restricted status, there's some neat gear to be had that's only at Restricted dealers.
2. Any services you'd be doing? I.e., edge de-tuning, waxing, repairs, setup, ect.
3. Make yourself known once the place is open. Spread the word to your friends & family who snowboard, heck, I would even be on here asking the people of the area for a visit!
4. When you need some staff, you need friendly, competent, and who snowboard themselves. Don't look for a guy who could get anyone to buy a Burton Mystery, because they can sell stuff. They won't be good for the shop's reputation. Look for guys who have a little experience, who have ridden for a long time, and compose your team of riders with different styles, so if say, I come in looking for park advice, you can send the guy who rides a ton of park out there, and if a notorious freerider comes in, you can send the guy who does a ton of freeriding to help him out.

That's my advice, but I don't own a shop, much less work at one. I'm just applying common sense and some experience at the local shop.
Thanks man.. all good advice
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Old 03-01-2013, 03:51 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Know your products and make sure your employees do as well. I used to ride for a local boardshop and initially we were drawn to them, because they carried the products we were looking for, at a better price then any other shop in the area. What ended up causing them to close their doors, was expanding to quickly, so I would suggest stay small, stay local and dont be greedy, remember owning a boardshop requires working 7 days a week for years before you'll trust someone enough to run the shop while your off riding.

good luck
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:13 PM   #7 (permalink)
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This may sound a bit off the wall, especially since floor space is expensive, but have a good comfortable seating area. People don't always come in alone, and whoever they are dragging along will be pushing them to finish quickly. This may not be as much of a problem for snowboarding shops, but one of the most successful women's clothing shops I've ever seen had a comfy seating area for husbands and boyfriends, complete with magazines. Sadly, management changes spelled an end to that. They're no longer in business.
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:20 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Donutz View Post
This may sound a bit off the wall, especially since floor space is expensive, but have a good comfortable seating area. People don't always come in alone, and whoever they are dragging along will be pushing them to finish quickly. This may not be as much of a problem for snowboarding shops, but one of the most successful women's clothing shops I've ever seen had a comfy seating area for husbands and boyfriends, complete with magazines. Sadly, management changes spelled an end to that. They're no longer in business.
Very true. The space I have been eyeballing has ample room for seating/ othe options. It is a very large store space right in the middle of the busiest area of the city. Hopefully it is still vacant by the time I make the move.
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:24 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Do you have experience in running a small business? If not, it's probably going to be vastly different than anything you are expecting. Surround yourself with people who do have experience.

Getting inventory is the easy part. Getting found is much more difficult. You will spend way more time (and money) than you anticipate getting found by people. Start early! Marketing is way more consuming at first than you would imagine. Maybe in your market it's not as tough, but I have trouble believing that Baltimore will be an easy market. What type of boards are you thinking?

I wouldn't try to discourage anyone from opening a boardshop, but you will be doing bookkeeping, inventory management, budgets, dealing with permits and regulations, marketing (have I mentioned that yet?), merchandising, developing relationships with vendors, establishing accounts, logistics, negotiating, and all of that is before you get to the customer service part. And customer service needs to be excellent to stand a chance. Maybe you have experience in these areas or will hire people to do some of these things for you. Just make sure you surround yourself with the right people.

Have a clear idea of who your target audience is and how to cater to them. What are they looking for? Make sure your market exists before wasting your time, money and energy. Just because you think it's there doesn't necessarily mean that it is and even if it is, is it going to be lucrative enough for you to be able to do what you want to do?

Also make sure you start with enough money! You make it sounds like that won't be a problem and that's great...it will take more than you think and you will need operating expenses for a fair amount of time before things become self sustaining and don't forget to pay yourself.

Good Luck!
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Old 03-01-2013, 04:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Have you worked in retail or run your own business before? Because this is The Truth:

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Originally Posted by Clayton Bigsby View Post
remember owning a boardshop requires working 7 days a week for years before you'll trust someone enough to run the shop while your off riding.
Other than that, establishing relationships with suppliers is key. If you're a new, unproven shop, would suppliers want your shop to carry their product?

You won't be able to compete on price with online retailers, so offer something else that they can't match, like good customer service or local knowledge.
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