Ten Shops April 2001

Ten Shops One Question

Spring, sprang, sprung!

This time of year we’re normally full of hope¿good weather means more folks skating. But if the crowds attending February’s Long Beach ASR are any indication, the number of skaters is way up with or without Mother Nature’s help. The seven-year skate-biz cycle we used to analyze the hell out of no longer applies. Instead of up and down, our happy healthy business seems to merely sigh a bit every once in a while, and then continue to climb. ¡Viva skateboarding!

This volume we chose seven successful shops from the contiguous U.S., one from U.S. Commonwealth Puerto Rico, and one shop each from Canada and Germany to pose an industry-related question to each issue. The variety of responses has been most enlightening, and should prove helpful to both retailers and manufacturers.

If you have any questions or comments for our ten shops, please address them to: Ten Shops, One Question, 353 Airport Road, Oceanside, California 92054; FAX: (760) 722-0653.

This issue’s question: How much does your shop charge for skate decks?

Jose Luis Melendez Martinez at Lokomalik Surf Skate Shop in Cidra, Puerto Rico

“For pro models I put them a little more expensive¿that’s because of the advertising, especially for pro teamriders’ models. People look for what they see in the magazines, so I can make them a little more expensive. I raise them like 40 percent, and I’m always looking at the competition. I don’t want them to be too expensive or too cheap. Catalog sales don’t interfere here in Puerto Rico¿the guys like shopping, and the photos in the catalogs aren’t always showing you what you get. They want to see it, touch it, try it on.

“I sell a couple of blank decks, but I sell more pro models. I would like to try a Lokomalik deck. It’s good promotion for the shop, and I’m gonna try it. I saw some information about that in the last SKATE Biz magazine, and I’m curious to see what the minimum order is.”

Alexander Bonk at Titus Roll Sport in Münster, Germany

“Due to high dollar/deutsche mark exchange rates, skateboard decks are pretty expensive right now, but sales have been the best in years¿skateboarding’s huge, what can you say?

“Pro and team decks are 149,90 DM, $69.67 U.S. except for Powell boards, which sell for 139,90 $65.02. Our best value boards, which are Titus House Brand, our own label, cost 89,90 $41.78 and 99,90 $46.43. Over the last few years we’ve had retail prices varying from 139,90 $65.02 to 159,90 $74.32 for regular boards. Right now we sell the decks including griptape to keep it a good value.

“Well, we all know that selling hardware isn’t where the money’s at, but you can pretty much say the smaller companies¿Neighborhood, Toy Machine, One Fifty One, et cetera¿provide the biggest margins. Still, big brands like Shorty’s and Alien Workshop make the numbers.

“As far as presentation goes, we display the boards on the best wall in the shop to show skateboarding as the main issue of our business.”

Chris Mitchell at Brave New World in Little Silver, New Jersey

“I think we only offer blanks and regulars, and we go by the actual costs. We don’t balance our prices across the board. They end up within a five-dollar range in the pro decks¿like the cheapest brand is $47.95, and the most expensive is $50.95. It’s all in the 50-dollar range.

“Blank decks are $29.95, and we don’t have a freestyle shop deck, just a longboard.

“As far as merchandising goes, you can see skate decks when you walk in, but they are on the back wall. This summer we filled six racks with decks¿they went off! We have a big junior market¿ages five to sixteen years old. It’s skewed a bit younger than a lot of stores.”

Dylan at Tazmahal Skapark in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

“How do I rate my skateboard decks’ price? I usually am the conservative type. My shop prices are a bit over what you usually find in a skatepark, being that mine is a pro shop. I’m running about 40 percent of the actual cost markup, so that gives me some margin if I need to go to sale or discount price at a certain time. If your initial price is too low, then there’s no way you can move around and promote that deck or try to clear it, and you’ll end up selling it for under cost!

“So the brands are all different prices. We have a shop deck in the works, that’ll be around 50 bucks, Canadian. It’ll have a big Taz logo. I do a lot of consignment for ‘unsigned decks,’ smaller brands. I make room for them on the wall. Top pro models are about 85 dollars. I merchandise the decks at the back, but nothing blocks the view¿you can see the full wall of decks from the door. And I get my staff to rearrange them frequently, change the presentation to create interest.”

Owner Jerry Davis at Triple A Skate ‘n’ Snow in Florence, Kentucky

“Decks¿you don’t make much money on decks! We just go by an average price¿that averages out to around 50 dollars for pro or team decks. Blank decks run about 34 dollars. I’m marking a 35-dollar deck up about 50 percent. And that cost is going up every day. It’s nothing to pay 38 dollars a deck now, but if I raised the prices up to 55 dollars, they’d be screaming! That’s because they can order them from CCS for 44 dollars¿they may be warped or delaminated, but they’re 44 dollars! A lot of people come in here just for decks. Slicks I do charge more for.

“We keep 90 decks on the wall and fifteen in back. I knock ten bucks off decks that aren’t moving. Our shop’s set up like a shoe box, with decks all along the long wall, down one side. It used to be both long walls, but now one’s shoes.”

Mark Loebe at Boardroom of Jackson Hole in Jackson, Wyoming

(307) 733-8327

“Because of CCS, you pretty much have to go 49.95. You can’t go higher than that because kids know the prices. I’m not gonna match CCS for shoes, though. I have some Boardroom decks for 35. We get ’em from Vision, silkscreened with the shop logo. They work pretty good. Most of the decks we buy cost 35, plus shipping! If you marked ’em at 60 to 70 bucks like they should be, like you would with anything else … we have to compete, though. We mark up hardware to try to make that back.

“If we don’t keep the prices down, the kids’ll talk bad about us. The shop decks only cost us seventeen or eighteen, so we almost get keystone 100-percent markup on them, and that’s great. Mail order’s what screws it up¿and what do they do for the people? I have quarterpipes out front and I’m helping with the local skatepark, getting that going. I think the skateboard companies should not sell to them.”

Mike Pooley at Bill’s Wheels Skate Shop in Santa Cruz, California

“We have a main wall of decks, which we call our ‘regular’ decks. Those are $47.95, and we don’t offer free grip. That’s pretty cheap, huh? People still scream, ‘You don’t have free grip!?’ Then we always have the sale-price on mini-logos, and we also have lots of shop boards. In the same sale area we have all of our close-outs¿a lot of Santa Cruz and a lot of Think. The sale decks are also offered in our complete packages¿they can pick the sale deck they want with some sale wheels to give them a choice, instead of just whatever we want to put together.

“Our prices are forced low by CCS as well as local competition. Our decks are all along the wall to the right¿we have a really long store. The wall holds almost 200 decks, and the area on the floor holds like 400 decks. The margins are meager on the boards, but we like to keep the prices low to help our customers. Softgoods and shoes help out our margins.”

Ryan Flanagan at Dusty’s Board Shop in Kennewick, Washington

“We’re doing $54.95 pro models and we have a couple different prices on our blanks¿our Powell mini-logos are $29.99, and our Dusty’s decks with a graphic on the bottom are $33.99, and our ATM blanks are $39.99¿they’re really popular. Our Shuvit blanks are $29.99.

“Sometimes we wheel and deal over here. If we’ve got certain customers who come here all the time, we drop the price a little ’cause they drop a lot of money in the shop. We give free griptape if you buy a deck. I’m actually trying to match the Zumiez prices¿they’re real competitive with us. We can’t match their package price; they’re big and corporate.

“I try to get the boards people like. I’m trying to change the skate scene here¿I hang all the decks so you can see them, they used to be just slopped in there. They’re on their own wall to the right of the door. I also do a little radio and show advertising.”

Neal Smith at White Chocolate Experience in Hays, Kansas

“We basically mark ’em according to cost¿our most expensive decks 53, and the rest are 50¿graphic decks. Shorty’s boards are 53. If we do get pricepoint, like Arcade or Dogtown, we price them at 50. We do have shop decks, we sell ’em at 36, and they cost eighteen to twenty, depending on art. We sell a lot of boards at that price. If we’ve got a kid who’s not on the team, he can’t afford to be buying them all the time. We sell White Chocolate completes for 85 bucks.

“Here people will take their kids, see a skateboard at Wal-Mart or the mall for 50 bucks, and they want to know what they get for their money. Beginning skaters will get a White Chocolate complete: blank wheels, Venture trucks¿high or low, and generic bearings and hardware, black griptape. We still give ’em options: the blank wheels are in five different colors and more than one size in each color. They can be customized.

“The closest competition is three hours’ drive away¿so our only real competition is CCS. It affects our prices somewhat¿we don’t try to match it, but we have to stay competitive. We keep a lot of decks for a shop our size¿about 40 graphics in stock, and the White Chocolate decks we get 50 at a time in five different sizes¿each size is in a different color.”

Sandie at Scottsdale Sidewalk Surfer in Scottsdale, Arizona

“We just mark all of ours team and pro models the same price¿mini logos are one price also, cheaper. We sell decks for 40 and 25, including free grip. We haven’t done a shop board¿when we started selling at these prices, there’s no need.

“We have the decks in the middle of the store and on the wall, with extras on the floor below. Ten rows on the wall from floor to ceiling. We really never have to discount decks. I think you need to be in tune with your customers and listen to your customers to see what they want¿see what brands are selling.”

Note about Sandie’s answer in Vol. 12 No. 4: “I actually do sell a lot of Independent trucks! The quote just came out wrong.”

our margins.”

Ryan Flanagan at Dusty’s Board Shop in Kennewick, Washington

“We’re doing $54.95 pro models and we have a couple different prices on our blanks¿our Powell mini-logos are $29.99, and our Dusty’s decks with a graphic on the bottom are $33.99, and our ATM blanks are $39.99¿they’re really popular. Our Shuvit blanks are $29.99.

“Sometimes we wheel and deal over here. If we’ve got certain customers who come here all the time, we drop the price a little ’cause they drop a lot of money in the shop. We give free griptape if you buy a deck. I’m actually trying to match the Zumiez prices¿they’re real competitive with us. We can’t match their package price; they’re big and corporate.

“I try to get the boards people like. I’m trying to change the skate scene here¿I hang all the decks so you can see them, they used to be just slopped in there. They’re on their own wall to the right of the door. I also do a little radio and show advertising.”

Neal Smith at White Chocolate Experience in Hays, Kansas

“We basically mark ’em according to cost¿our most expensive decks 53, and the rest are 50¿graphic decks. Shorty’s boards are 53. If we do get pricepoint, like Arcade or Dogtown, we price them at 50. We do have shop decks, we sell ’em at 36, and they cost eighteen to twenty, depending on art. We sell a lot of boards at that price. If we’ve got a kid who’s not on the team, he can’t afford to be buying them all the time. We sell White Chocolate completes for 85 bucks.

“Here people will take their kids, see a skateboard at Wal-Mart or the mall for 50 bucks, and they want to know what they get for their money. Beginning skaters will get a White Chocolate complete: blank wheels, Venture trucks¿high or low, and generic bearings and hardware, black griptape. We still give ’em options: the blank wheels are in five different colors and more than one size in each color. They can be customized.

“The closest competition is three hours’ drive away¿so our only real competition is CCS. It affects our prices somewhat¿we don’t try to match it, but we have to stay competitive. We keep a lot of decks for a shop our size¿about 40 graphics in stock, and the White Chocolate decks we get 50 at a time in five different sizes¿each size is in a different color.”

Sandie at Scottsdale Sidewalk Surfer in Scottsdale, Arizona

“We just mark all of ours team and pro models the same price¿mini logos are one price also, cheaper. We sell decks for 40 and 25, including free grip. We haven’t done a shop board¿when we started selling at these prices, there’s no need.

“We have the decks in the middle of the store and on the wall, with extras on the floor below. Ten rows on the wall from floor to ceiling. We really never have to discount decks. I think you need to be in tune with your customers and listen to your customers to see what they want¿see what brands are selling.”

Note about Sandie’s answer in Vol. 12 No. 4: “I actually do sell a lot of Independent trucks! The quote just came out wrong.”