San Diego Retail Tour: South Coast Surf Shop

South Coast Surf Shop
Ocean Beach, California

Three months of dreary weather has left its mark on South Coast in Ocean Beach, but it hasn’t hung the surf shop out to dry. “We’re off a little bit compared to last year, but we’re still making money,” says Manager Scott Warick.

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Despite cloudy skies, sandals were South Coast’s strongest category this spring. Reef is the dominant brand, followed by Ocean Minded. Leather sandals by Scott have also done well. Warick says the sandal category is a good moneymaker because of the profitable margins. “We keystone them,” he says, “and nobody asks for a deal on sandals!”

While sandal sales are up, some fundamental categories are down, namely men’s clothes. However, two doors down at South Coast’s longboard shop, Quik’s Silver Edition is killing it. Pricepoints are higher, but Warick says customers don’t hesitate to spend the extra money because the quality is so good.

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If there’s one surefire way to move product in a shop, Warick says it’s through a window display. South Coast featured a pair of MCD flame-printed boardshorts in a window and they sold-through immediately. “If you’re going to do a window, you have to put product in it,” says Warick.

South Coast’s wetsuit section is flourishing. Warick rates the shop’s wetsuit sales a nine out of ten. O’Neill is hands-down the top seller (“O’Neill suits sell themselves,” says Warick), and Quiksilver is gaining momentum.

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Surfboards aren’t the focal point at South Coast, but they’re a healthy part of its business. The Andy Irons pro model by HIC is the shop’s best-selling board.

Warick describes South Coast as a family store. The majority of its regular customers are moms in their thirties shopping with their young kids. However, there’s a youth hostel down the street that’s usually packed with wandering surfers, so South Coast sees its share of tourists. Warick says most tourists who visit the shop are Brazilian or Japanese.

Window Brands: Adio, Hurley, O’Neill
Major Display Brands: Quiksilver, O’Neill wetsuits
Strongest Category: Footwear
Weakest Category: Men’s clothes is down
Strongest Brands: South Coast, Reef
Best Reps: Pat Artukovich (Quiksilver), Erik Marks (Quiksilver), Mario Pasillas (MCD), Jonah Mechanic (Rusty), Dave Texar (Rip Curl), Doug Harley (Reef), Danielle Bumpus (Aaron Chang), and Jeff “J.D.” Devore (Electric).

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