Deliveries of hardgoods have been coming in at Cool Runnings in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, but: “Clothing is horrendous,” says Owner Carol Godfrey. “We missed all the back-to-school kids.”
Godfrey is hoping she won’t see a repeat of last season, which she called the worst season ever for deliveries. She was still getting shipments in January. “Companies can’t afford to do what they did last year,” she says.
Deliveries of hardgoods have been fine, except for two companies: Godfrey says she has not gotten deliveries of Ride’s Timeless line, nor has she received product from Forum.
Softgoods is a much bigger concern. Godfrey says she’s received a couple of pieces from Burton, but of the several-thousand-dollars’ worth of sweaters she ordered, she had only received one sweater style. When she called the company about a jacket one of her employees wanted, she was told they did not have it in yet and they haven’t started shipping. “It scares the hell out of me,” Godfrey adds.
Rob Quinn, co-owner of the B-Side in Burlington, Vermont, is relatively new to the snowboard business, having come from the ski side. But he was around last year, when he says deliveries were unbelievably bad, with product due in September arriving in February.
So far, the shop has received partial shipments of hardgoods from Oxygen, Mervin, and Original Sin, and Quinn says, “We should be getting stuff from Burton and K2 soon.” But as of the first week in September, no apparel had arrived.
But Quinn says he’s basically an optimist: “I’m looking forward to this year to see how it goes. There were some issues with the shop in the past. I’ve spent the last year reorganizing to get things to run smoother. So talk to me in six months.”
According to Joe Costanzo, snowboarder manager/buyer at North of the Boarder (NOTB) Snowboards in Salem, New Hampshire, “Generally, shipments are late, especially on key items.
“I always get K2, Original Sin, and some Burton early-mostly hardgoods,” Costanzo adds. NOTB has received full shipments of boards from Santa Cruz and Elan, and Costanzo says, “I’ve gotten some partial shipments at this point.”
It’s the more high-demand items that he often has problems with. “Burton step-ins we won’t see for a while,” he says. “They’re one of the first ones to deliver, but they can also be the last ones.
“If I had to give it a grade, it would be a ‘C’ from almost all companies,” he adds.
Adam Hawley, owner of Failure, Ltd., in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, probably wouldn’t give a passing grade to anyone, except maybe Santa Cruz. He’s gotten a partial shipment from them.
“This is the fifth year in a row, and nobody can get their product out on time,” Hawley says. “How do you get financing from a bank on a company that can’t get their product out on time?
“Burton sent a report saying how late they are going to be. You’d think the number-one company could get their product out on time,” he adds.
Hawley also sells skateboards, and says the situation is exactly the opposite with the skateboard industry. “Dealing with (snowboard) deliveries like this is ridiculous,” he says. “I might be 80-percent stocked by November 1, but I need that by August 15. I have a lot of college kids, and I have to bank on them coming home for Thanksgiving.”
Hawley says he sells 400 to 500 boards a year: “Dealing with that much volume is hell. Deliveries have been the cause of my headaches for five years, since we started in 1993. I started with small suppliers, then I found out how bad the majors were.”
On the other hand, Heinz Scheidle, owner of Heinz’s Ski and Snowboard Shop in Enfield, Connecticut, isn’t too worried.
“I haven’t gotten anything yet except Rossignol, but I called and it’s supposed to come in this week,” Scheidle says. “Deliveries are about two to three weeks behind; everything seems a little slower than normal.
“Right now, that’s not a problem,” Scheidle adds. “If it comes inn the next week or two, we’ll be okay.”