San Diego Retail Tour: Hansen’s Boardroom

Hansen’s Boardroom
Encinitas, California

The grand dame of North County surf shops, Hansen’s began in 1961 as a small one-room operation on Kawela Bay on O’ahu’s North Shore before Shaper/Owner Don Hansen moved to Cardiff-by-the-Sea in the spring of 1962. At that point he opened up the original Hansen Surfboards shop on the beach at Cardiff Reef.

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Today, Hansen’s is broken up into two separate-yet-related storefronts: the main Hansen’s Ski Surf Sportswear store, and the smaller Hansen’s Boardroom found next door. The product selection varies in both locations, with skateboarding generally serving as a dividing line.

The two-store concept does make for some interesting line distinctions among those who follow that sort of thing. For example, the main Hansen’s store features Quiksilver, Rusty, Billabong, O’Neill, Mindless Reaction, Redsand, Tommy Bahama, Kahala, and Hurley. The Boardroom carries brands such as Planet Earth, Ezekiel, Volcom, and Counter Culture. The main store houses longboards and bodyboards; shortboard and skateboards are found in the Boardroom. In the wintertime the Board Room also carries snowboards, and the main store carries skis.

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Both shops are merchandised well, and at least half of the main Hansen’s location is devoted to juniors’ brands such as Teeny Wahine, Roxy, Fresh Produce, Point Conception, and Raisins. In the Boardroom, Channel Islands, Sharp Eye, Byrne, and Rusty boards are selling best. O’Neill, Rip Curl, and Billabong are the top wetsuit brands. The strongest area of growth for the Boardroom, however, is with the more skate-influenced girls’ programs. “Those brands are going up dramatically,” says Boardroom Manager Stan Campbell.

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According to Campbell, the lousy spring weather and soft economy did have an impact on sales, with hardgood sales strong but apparel down. “Volcom and Hurley still sell, and the economy has little to do with that,” he says. “It’s more with the moms. They watch the evening news and get scared. Plus the thrift-store look is in. It’s cheap and easy. A lot of my customers seemed logoed-out. Brands need to cut down on the fancy extras and reduce pricepoints — nobody needs so many pockets and logos.”

Window Brands: Volcom, Planet Earth
Major Display Brands: Volcom, Counter Culture
Strongest Category: Juniors, wetsuits, surfboards
Weakest Category: Walkshorts with pricepoints greater than 50 dollars.
Hottest Brands: Volcom
Bests Reps: Lenny Jones (Volcom), Kaipo Guerrero (DVS)

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