Eye On Orange County – Surfside Sports

Surfside Sports
Newport Beach

The revolution will not be televised, but Surfside Sports has a pretty good view nevertheless. Located on the trend-o-matic Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, the shop has seen the mercurial rise of several brands from an amazing up-close and personal perspective. “We were one of the first shops anywhere to carry Volcom,” says owner Duke Edukas, “and we were the number-two Volcom shop back in the day.”

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Edukas continues to be on the lookout for new brands and products because they simply drive sales best. “Sunglasses are probably our strongest category, and a lot of that is based on what Electric and Von Zipper have done to energize that market,” he says. “It’s nice to see that it can still happen.”

Surfside Sports encompasses a range of sports and is one of the few major surf retailers to go deep and wide with snowboards. In fact, snowboards account for nearly one-third of all business at Surfside Sports, and Burton P.O.P. is prominently displayed in the front windows next to Stüssy, Smith, and Etnies.

Summer sales have been healthy at Surfside Sports, but Edukas says that’s hardly a surprise: “Summer is easy; sales are a given. It’s spring that’s volatile and the weather affects business more than anything. Sure, the economy matters, but we’re too far down the line for it to really affect us too greatly. Cool inland skate shops affect us way more — as does water quality along our beaches.”

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Shoes have been an interesting story at Surfside Sports, and Edukas says he really had the tiger by the tail for a while. While the store carries shoes from Reef, Oakley, DVS, Globe, Etnies, éS, Circa, Gravis, and others, Edukas insists “We’re not shoe guys.

“We sell a lot of shoes, but at what margin?” he continues. “Who’s making the money, us or the shoe brands?” As a result, Edukas decided to limit SKUs and go really deep with the remaining models. So far, he says it seems to be working.”

Employee-incentive programs have also been effective in moving product, and Edukas says employee Drew Dolkas has used the various in-store contests to hone his selling prowess. “As they say, that guy could sell snow to the Eskimos,” says Edukas.

Overall, he seems content with business and how things are going: “We’re treated pretty damn well, and the brands are always asking what they can do for us. If I had one comment, I’d just say let the retailers do the retailing.”

Window Brands: Burton, Stüssy, Smith, Etnies
Major Display Brands: Volcom, Billabong, Hurley, Quiksilver
Strongest Category: Sunglasses
Weakest Category: Shoes
Strongest Brands: Volcom, Electric, Von Zipper
Best Reps: Greg “G.T.” Tomlinson (Von Zipper), Lance Varon (Xcel), Bobby Lochart (Billabong), Mike McGuira (Volcom), Pat Murphy (Body Glove).

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