San Diego Retail Tour: South Coast Windansea

South Coast Windansea
Pacific Beach, California

With its sister South Coast Wahine shop catering to girls nearby, South Coast Windansea, located just steps from Crystal Pier in Pacific Beach, has dedicated most of its floor space to men’s and kid’s apparel. Volcom, Counter Culture, and Freshjive are the shop’s hottest brands — although Quiksilver has the most prominent point-of-purchase display.

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The racks bulge with walkshorts, wovens, trunks, and T-shirts. Manager Chris Salvatierra, who’s worked at the shop for six years, says there can be 30,000 pieces of product on the floor at any given time.

But there’s order to the madness. In general, the clothes are separated by category, not by brand. Within each category, the product is separated by size and then by color within each size. The most common sizes are given the most accessible rack space, while the sizes on the fringe of the bell curve skirt the bottom of the displays.

Even though there’s product that even the pickiest of shoppers would like, business isn’t as good as it could be. Salvatierra says talk of a slowing economy has affected business — not to mention the fact that sopped-in skies has caused for a drop in foot traffic.

Parking is another issue the South Coast staff has to face. Located at the foot of the beach — and the epicenter of PB — parking is at a premium. South Coast only has a half-dozen spots in front of its store, and although there’s a huge parking lot across the street for a mini strip mall with a Blockbuster anchor, it’s heavily guarded and reserved solely for patrons of that complex.

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Yet with a loyal local customer base coupled with droves of tourists, business is still steaming ahead — and Salvatierra says July is when sales really start pumping. Sandals are the hottest category, and the shop is the spot to go to for O’Neill wetsuits (O’Neill built out an entire section of the store for its wetsuits).

Window Brands: Volcom, Hurley, O’Neill
Major Display Brands: Quiksilver, Reef
Strongest Category: Sandals
Weakest Category: Shoes
Strongest Brands: Volcom, Counter Culture, Freshjive
Best Reps: Erik Maki (Quiksilver), Mark Weber (Hurley)

Shop Location