In Breckenridge, Colorado, Mountain Wave Manager Alison Howlin says snowboards, boots, and bindings have a smaller profit margin than apparel and accessories. With this in mind Howlin has increased her softgoods orders for next season. “We went a little bigger placing orders in general,” she says. “It seems like we’re ordering more of everything every year.”
Down at the Boarding Haus in Durango, Colorado, accessories are the key to the best margins. “We don’t get as much for big-ticket items like snowboards,” explains Manager John Agnew. “The idea is to get them customers in the door. If I sell them a board, then I can add on other items.” Agnew says he increased his orders for accessories this year, and has done so consistently for the past three years. “We continually beef up orders in that area each season,” he says.
Margin returns are also the best in accessories for Marc Loeb, owner of The Board Room in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Accessories such as T-shirts and ball caps are particularly profitable. “If you’re going to buy hardgoods, you usually check out the prices everywhere,” he says. “With accessories, you don’t shop around.” Hot accessories at The Board Room are griptape, jewelry, and hair dye. Once he brings customers in with the main items, Loeb says the accessories are where the money is made.
When ordering, Loeb focuses more on hardgoods despite the better margins in softgoods. “You can’t sell accessories without a good product line,” he says. Another factor behind concentrating less on accessories when ordering, he explains, is that there’s less need to plan ahead for the smaller items. Accessories offer faster turnover, and it’s always easy to order more.
In Frisco, Colorado at Snowboards of the Rockies, Manager Steve Stevenson says the price structure for clothing and sunglasses is keystone-100-percent markup. Hardgoods compare at just a 40- to 45-percent markup. Stevenson asserts that having a full-service shop along with a top-end line of rentals makes up for any low margins that may occur in hardgood sales.
Margins have little effect on orders at Snowboards of the Rockies. Stevenson hopes instead to offer solid product for his customers.
At The Edge Works in Denver, Colorado, Owner Matt Hupperts also cites accessories as a big profit area. During the past year, however, margins in Hupperts’ shop increased more noticeably in services. Competing in the city with many larger conglomerate stores, Hupperts looked to the service aspect of his shop to bring in more sales.
“There was a huge increase in service for snowboards,” he says. “Customers are now getting to a point where they understand the importance of a good tune. We went from tuning eight to ten boards a week last year to 50 to 60 a week.” With the increased demand for tunes, Hupperts says they’re selling a lot more of the smaller tuning items and are pulling in more of these accessories for next year.