San Diego Retail Tour: Emerald City

Emerald City
Coronado, California

Emerald City’s Coronado shop — situated some 200 yards from the majestic red-roofed Hotel del Coronado — gets its share of tourists. Two-million people visit San Diego’s Crown City each year, and many of them stop by Emerald City, located on Orange Avenue — Coronado’s main drag — before they soak up the sun and hit the sand.

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Manager Mark Dewitt says the majority of the shop’s customers are tourists, but they’re not just looking for postcards, shot glasses, or other senseless paraphernalia. Emerald City’s strongest category is men’s apparel, and Quiksilver and Rusty are the most in-demand brands. Billabong and Volcom also do well. On the juniors’ side, Roxy has a stranglehold on the market.

This spring’s sour weather has spoiled trunks sales, but sandals are doing surprisingly well. Dewitt says sandal sales are up 40 percent over last year, with Reef taking the largest chunk, followed by Cobian.

Skate accounts for more business than ever, and when Emerald City opens up its long-anticipated third store later this year in Bonita (inland, south San Diego county), skate will play an even bigger role.

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Overall, business is good, but not as strong as it was last year (Dewitt says 2000 might have been an anomaly). April rain, May gray, and June gloom have been the biggest factors in slumping sales, and the sidewalk construction in front of the store also caused a dip in business. “We haven’t been killing it, but we’ve been getting by pretty well,” says Dewitt.

Window Brands: Volcom, Foundation, Roxy
Major Display Brands: Quiksilver, Reef, Cobian, Billabong
Strongest Category: Men’s apparel
Weakest Category: Kids’ apparel
Strongest Brands: Quiksilver, Reef, Rusty
Best Reps: Pat Artukovich (Quiksilver), Mark Weber (Hurley), Doug Harley (Reef)

Shop Location