Scott Rieley, owner of the Alpine Shop in South Burlington, Vermont–in addition to a new shop in Middlebury–has been hitting all the shows.
“We attended Outdoor Retailer, Stratton, and Providence, and will do SIA and Manchester,” says Rieley. Acquiring the former Skihaus five months ago left him outside of the buying market, he said, so he was placing summer orders at OR.
Rieley says all his orders will be written by the end of Vegas, and he says there are companies who offer incentives to do so. Some, including Burton and Salomon, want their orders written even earlier, he says.
For next season, he’s excited about Burton–although he really doesn’t like the new board graphics–and that Salomon and Ride both look good. There are some Airwalk boards with graphics he likes, and he’ll probably add Salomon to his step-in lineup, which includes Burton and Original Sin. “Salomon is probably the best company out there in the winter-sports business,” he says.
Paul Zajkowski, vice president and general manager of Potter Brothers Ski Shop in Kingston, New York, goes to Stratton, Jack Frost, and Las Vegas. Potter Brothers has four city locations and an area shop at Jiminy Peak, Massachusetts.
He says he starts ordering a week or two before the SIA Las Vegas show and will be done within a week after it’s over. Zajkowski says his region is on the rebound,; experiencing the best retail atmosphere in ten years.
“K2 and Rossignol both look excellent,” he says, and he likes the Oxygen step-in binding. He carries Clicker and Rossignol step-ins, and will probably add Oxygen to replace Marker.
William Casey, owner of Sunny Breeze Sports in Falmouth, Maine, does the East Coast shows–Stratton, Providence, and Manchester. However he will not be at Vegas since he expects to have all his orders written by the end of February. “I started writing February 1,” he says.
Casey says Burton and Salomon–”the usual suspects”–look good for next year. “There is some exciting stuff for next year, but I’m not going to talk about it. Who reads TransWorld Business? Other retailers, right?”
David Dethlefs, snowboard buyer for Joe Jones Ski & Sport in North Conway, New Hampshire, won’t be going to Vegas either. Dethlefs buys for ten stores in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
The store sent people to Stratton, but the only show Dethlefs attended so far was Providence. He says he may go to Manchester: “We decided we could get everything done and didn’t need to spend the extra money.” He expected to be done writing orders by the first week in March.
“The vendors all have their deadlines way before Vegas,” he says. “By the time Vegas rolls around, it’s almost too late.”
Dethlefs likes Burton and Salomon/Bonfire for hardgoods and softgoods as well as Dub and Four Square for softgoods.
Scooter Berry, owner of Mountain Sports (formerly Snow Kountry), with two stores in Laurel and Bel Air, Maryland attended Stratton and had planned to go to Aspen until he got sick. He will go to Vegas, but is skipping the post-shows.
“I’ll write everything in Vegas,” he says. “If I don’t do it in Vegas, it won’t get done.” He says he has a good idea what his order will be before he gets there, but “Vegas always changes things.”
Berry likes K2 and Ride, but the thing he is most excited about is skiboards, he said: “Snowboarding is doing well for us, even in a down year.”
Tom Eller, owner of Wintersport Ski and Snowboard in Raleigh, North Carolina, goes to the shows in Greenville, South Carolina, and the on-snow demo at Snowshoe, West Virginia. He’ll also go to Las Vegas. Since his shop does both skis and snowboards, most of his ski orders were written before SIA, and he’ll cconcentrate on snowboard orders in Vegas. He said he starting writing in January.
It’s been a rough year, Eller says. “In a year like this, there’s not much to get excited about until show time. But part of the reason you’re in this business is because you do get excited. I really like what K2 is doing; I like where they’re heading. It’s a good, innovative product.”