San Diego Retail Tour: Pacific Drive

Pacific Drive
Pacific Beach, California

In an ideal world, all of Pacific Drive would be under one roof. But with square footage at a premium in San Diego — especially when you’re right on the beach — extra space is hard to come by.

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So Pac Drive has made the best of its situation. The shop is divided in two: skate in one location, surf in the other. The shops are right across the street from each other, making a nice corridor of surf and skate goods as Thomas Street spills onto the ever-crowded PB boardwalk.

Both locations are about the same size, but the surf shop seems smaller because of its lower ceiling. The surf shop is packed with goods — mostly men’s apparel. Reef and Billabong are the major display brands, but Volcom is the shop’s best-selling line. According to Pac Drive’s Jason Reyes, Hurley, while still strong, is starting to simmer down.

Being right on the beach, weather plays an integral role to Pac Drive’s business. “Summer’s prime,” says Reyes, adding that this spring’s poor weather resulted in a dip in business. While there’s a loyal local following, a large chunk of the shop’s business comes from tourists who hit the beach from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Year-round, however, Pac Drive’s skate business is solid. Reyes says the skate shop’s more popular than the surf shop, noting that the insanely large skate-shoe collection is the biggest draw.

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In fact, Pac Drive is the place to go in San Diego for skate shoes. The shop carries virtually every skate shoe out there, offering more than 200 different styles. The surf shop carries footwear also: Etnies and Reef.

With guys like Saxon Boucher, Jeremy Heit, C.T. Taylor, Travis Molina, and Benji and Jason Weatherly, Pacific Drive has one of the most high-profile surf-shop teams out there. Its skate team isn’t too shabby, either: teamriders include Rob Drydek, Peter Smolik, Matt Mumford, and Mike Crum, among others.

Window Brands: Volcom, Counter Culture, Hurley, Lost
Major Display Brands: Billabong, Reef
Strongest Category: Men’s apparel
Weakest Category: n/a
Strongest Brands: Volcom, Billabong
Best Reps: Lenny (Volcom), Mark Weber (Hurley), Greg “G.T.” Tomlinson (Von Zipper), Jeremy “Snowy” Lonsway (Globe)

Shop Location