Ten Shops, One Question November 2000

Remember a whole year ago, when folks were panicking over the idea of a Y2K meltdown and everything was “millennium fever?” Some hype that turned out to be! Another year’s upon us¿Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke’s favorite year, in fact¿and we’re still here, business as usual.

Let’s hope the masses feel so optimistic about our future this holiday season that they open the purse strings wide. Ho ho ho!

SKATE Biz has chosen seven 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. Throughout the “volume year,” these successful shops will cover topics relating to the issue’s theme, as well as to skateboarding business in general.

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: Does your shop have a Web site?

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

lokomalik.com

“You know, I’m working on that right now¿I’ve registered the domain name www-dot-lokomalik-dotcom. I would like people to see my store inside and where I’m located. I’ll put up a map of Puerto Rico, then my town, then the street where I’m located.

“People are always asking about the store¿especially reps. I’m sick of sending out photos! Now they can just look at the site. I’ll put a lot of photos of the inside of the shop up¿I like to decorate my store. Later I might think about selling online, but I’m not even thinking about it right now.

“The guy who’s gonna design it will make videos where it’s like you’re walking through the store. And we’ll put a little hip-hop music in the background. Nice effects, get the boys down here.”

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

tripleaskate.com

“Yeah we do, it doesn’t do too well. Some of the companies are telling us we can’t sell on the Internet, only at the physical store site as per the agreement we made with them. I can see if we were a big Internet site, but we’re just a store. I think it can be a success, though.

“We started the site to sell stuff anywhere and all the time¿a lot of kids are on the Internet at night. The site is hard to maintain. I do the work, and also one of my employees when it doesn’t interrupt his school. Sometimes selling on the ‘Net, you almost take a loss! We sent a bag out at a five-dollar profit, but my bookkeeper tells me shipping ate that. No profit!

“Our site is to sell stuff. We do have info on upcoming events and cover our demos, and I tell everyone thank you online after the events, but mostly we trying to sell as much stuff as we can. But the main thing is working on the site every day, maintain it. Another thing I’m confused about on the ‘Net is tax¿it should be no tax, so why do I still pay tax to the state of Kentucky?”

Rod Smith at White Chocolate Experience in Hays, Kansas

whitechocolate.net

shopwhitechocolate.com

shopwhitechocolate.net

“Yes we do¿actually we have three domains right now, and two domains take you to the main site¿our new shopping-cart site. The old one we’re gonna leave up as well¿it doesn’t cost us to keep it, so we’ll just link it up the shopping-cart site. We did it so we could sell things online¿click, click, buy. We felt like we had to do the Web sites to expand our market.

“The whitechocolate-dot-net site is more for fun, like an online newsletter. It’s set up so you can put a lot of information up, upcoming events, what our teamriders are up to. The shopping-cart sites’ content will be more like what products our teamriders like. I never wanted any of our sites to just be a shopping cart¿we try to provide entertainment. A Webmaster friend gave me a program called Damweaver to learn and use¿it’s so easy. The technology’s not a problem, it’s time management. The worst thing about our site is getting fresh material up.”

Mark Loebe at Boardroom of Jackson Hole in Jackson, Wyoming

“No. Money is the big reason¿I can’t afford it, and I don’t have a computer. I have looked into it a little bit¿it would be a lot of work, and it costs a lot of money to do that!

“Then when you look at other shops’ sites, they’re not that good. They have good intentions, and make a good start, but it takes a lot of time to keep it up.

“I do order online to save shipping through South Shore. There’s a computer shop next door, and they just let me go online. The savings amounts to about a hundred bucks a month. The mail-order aspect of the Internet is what scares me, and I think some vendors are jacking people around on that. A few of the shoe companies will sell to CCS, but they won’t let me have a Web site and sell their stuff.”

Troy Asher at Dusty’s Board Shop in Kennewick, Washington

maland.com/dusty

“Yes we do. The site’s been around three years. It was started to let people know what kind of stuff we carry, and also a site for Maland Communications, which is pagers and audio equipment for seminars and stuff like that¿same family.

“We update the site each time we pick up a new line to let people know what’s going on. We get a lot of e-mail for all three shops¿questions of whether we can get this or that. They call and ask if we have what they’ve seen online, and we try to have it for when they come in. We also have a few links to companies.”

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

“We don’t have one. The owner’s toying around with the idea. I don’t think he’s registered a domain name. We’ve already sort of missed the boat, but it’s not too late. People want to check out the store before they come in. And they want product fast¿they can get it next day on the Web now, and a lot of people are shopping like that.”

Dylan at Tazmahal Skatepark in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

taz.qc.ca

“Right now the space that I’ve got on our Web page is kind of limited. Soon we plan to list more specific products, like Taz clothing and Airwalk in regard to shoes. My first strategy is to enable customers to look at the product online that they can order, but the payment part is still a concern. Right now we use the phone and ship it out afterward.

“To do the Web site well, you need to start with structure. Before making that move to online sales, you should really work it out. Maybe advertise on the Internet and take orders over the phone. Then you can move on to the next step. That’s my strategy.

“We started the Web site to keep up-to-date, and kids today are connected. It’s been up around three years. The site is kept up by a student who works here. He likes to do it, and it doesn’t cost us much. The basic process is just to advertise your shop on your site. And all our skatepark partners do have links with us.”

Alexander Bonk at Titus Roll Sport in Münster, Germany

titus.de

“We’ve been running our Web site for about a year and a half now, basically having the people working the store taking care of the site, as well as a little help from outside professionals.

“We felt it was time to give customers a chance to keep informed about Titus Roll Sport¿the stuff we carry, and who on our staff is responsible for what. We let them know about new brands coming in, new shoe styles, special sales, events, et cetera. We want to get to the point where every customer has the ability to check out what’s in stock, and what will be in the near future.

“Extending the content of our site is in the planning process, including virtual shopping, video and music reviews, skate/snow product updates, news in general, mail order, and travel. We all know how important it is to be virtually present, and I see it as a great chance to get people connected to your shop in more than just one way.”

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

billswheels.com

“Yes it does. Right now it’s mainly so the local people can get a taste of the shop without coming in directly¿pictures of employees and teamriders. We throw in demo information, and a lot of cool stuff is under construction. Our Webmaster just moved to the East Coast, but he’s gonna keep working on it from there.

“The Web site is not Bill’s number-one priority¿we’re not gonna do Internet sales, but it is a great way for people to check the shop out. We’re working on it.”

Sandie at Scottsdale Sidewalk Surfer in Scottsdale, Arizona

sidewalksurfer.com

“Yes we do. We do mostly Goped stuff on the Web site, but we also wanted to inform our customers of everything else we sell. I think it helps the manufacturers also¿the kids shop from Web site to Web site to see different things. They’re not buying a lot online, but they do e-mail a lot of questions. We get a lot of shoe questions on the Internet. They want to know if we have different colors, what’s new or old or available. We ship out a few shoes¿kids can buy anything from the store on the Internet except the few companies that have told us not to. And we do order online from distributors¿some offer free shipping.

“One of the guys who worked for me ten years is now doing our Web site. We have links to all the companies on our site. The site’s been up two and a half years; the hardest thing has been trying to keep it up-to-date. Things in our industry change so fast¿always have and always will.”

see it as a great chance to get people connected to your shop in more than just one way.”

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

billswheels.com

“Yes it does. Right now it’s mainly so the local people can get a taste of the shop without coming in directly¿pictures of employees and teamriders. We throw in demo information, and a lot of cool stuff is under construction. Our Webmaster just moved to the East Coast, but he’s gonna keep working on it from there.

“The Web site is not Bill’s number-one priority¿we’re not gonna do Internet sales, but it is a great way for people to check the shop out. We’re working on it.”

Sandie at Scottsdale Sidewalk Surfer in Scottsdale, Arizona

sidewalksurfer.com

“Yes we do. We do mostly Goped stuff on the Web site, but we also wanted to inform our customers of everything else we sell. I think it helps the manufacturers also¿the kids shop from Web site to Web site to see different things. They’re not buying a lot online, but they do e-mail a lot of questions. We get a lot of shoe questions on the Internet. They want to know if we have different colors, what’s new or old or available. We ship out a few shoes¿kids can buy anything from the store on the Internet except the few companies that have told us not to. And we do order online from distributors¿some offer free shipping.

“One of the guys who worked for me ten years is now doing our Web site. We have links to all the companies on our site. The site’s been up two and a half years; the hardest thing has been trying to keep it up-to-date. Things in our industry change so fast¿always have and always will.”