“K2 has the best service,” says Troy Angwin, sales manager/hardgoods buyer for Wheel and Sprocket in Hales Corner, Wisconsin. “They have good customer service and prompt shipping. I usually get a hold of someone on the phone, or at least they call me back quickly.”
He says snowboard sales have been phenomenal this year, with preseason sales up 30 percent compared to last year. They’ve been so strong since then that the store has placed multiple reorders.
The snowboard/ski/bike shop also carries such brands as Rossignol and Convert, but Angwin says they do particularly well with K2 and the Clicker step-in system. “Our customers know Shimano from biking and they like it.”
According to Shak Wazir, co-owner of A.Q. Boardshop in Naperville, Illinois, Burton services his shop the best: “They’re organized and they know what their inventory is at all times. Plus they have the fax-back service so we can check inventory easily.”
He says the shop also gets good service from Never Summer: “They have personable service. They’re pretty down to earth.”
The three-year-old shop carries brands such as Forum, Nitro, Santa Cruz, and Type A, and has had a good season so far this year.
At Root’s Camp’n Ski Haus in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Salomon stands out for good service. “Their rep has been in the store four or five times so far this year,” says Manager/Buyer Chad A’Hearn. “They also have a pretty good reorder selection, and their shipments have been on time.”
The shop also carries Burton, K2, Vans, Switch, The North Face, and Patagonia, and has seen slower sales than last year. “We just got snow on the ground, and a lot of people are looking at stuff now, but they’re asking when we’re going to discount things for our end-of-season sales,” says A’Hearn.
With quick response to special orders and good availability of product, K2 and Bonfire got high marks from sales-rep Bill Bondar at Outdoor Adventures in Cincinnati, Ohio. “K2 had extended hours around Christmas, which was nice,” he adds.
Salomon, Columbia/Convert, Obermeyer, Vans, and Shimano are also stocked in the store, and overall board sales have been good this year. “The last two to three years, snowboard sales have been going crazy,” adds Bondar.
In Minot, North Dakota, consumers are looking for lower-end deals, according to Frank Ellingson, owner of Northwest Sporting Goods. The shop has done well with Ride’s products that address the low-end market, but he says Rossignol’s service stands out.
“When you call and order, they take immediate action,” says Ellingson. “With some other companies you get no response or can’t even get a live person on the phone. I think the answering machine was the worst thing ever invented.”
The shop has done well with the Rossignol step-ins, and he believes they are the wave of the future. “If companies can get the price down, they’ll really sell well.”