“We build specialty products for specialty stores,” says Marty Carrigan to a group of 25 U.S. retailers brought to Europe for a special Palmer Snowboards meeting. The point of the meeting was to help the shop managers and owners better understand the Palmer company and for the Palmer management to get a better read on what the retailers think of its product and planning.

The group was gathered at Palmer headquarters in Glarus, Switzerland, just an hour outside of Zurich listening to a line overview. Carrigan poined out that the average retail price in the industry for a board is around 300 dollars, while Palmer’s boards wholesale for 357 dollars. “We focus only on ten percent of the market,” he says. “There are 50,000 boards sold over the 400-dollar mark, yet we have only two boards that are sold under 400 dollars.

He continued to explain more about the numbers and why Palmer is actually helping the retailer make more money: “The average margin is 30 percent on a 300-dollar board. We’re offering 40 percent on a 600-dollar board. Higher margins mean better gross product.”

To go along with helping the company make money for the retailers, Carrigan says that Palmer is a product driven, not team driven. “We put the money back into the product.”

Indeed, going through the line, it was obvious as a mixture of new and unique constructions and materials set apart the Palmer product. Features on all the boards include cap sandwich constructions, which offer the best of both worlds; prepreg fiberglass, tip and tail protectors, and extensive use of honeycomb material and even titanium.

New models for the line are the Patriot and Liberty. The first is a new freestyle board and the other is a women’s board. The Honey Pipe has been renamed the Honey Pro and there are nine models total. It’s a tight line.

Carrigan also mentioned the Palmer Profit center, a display that Palmer came up with two years ago to help retailers move the product out of their stores. “You don’t put 600-dollar boards on the same rack with all the other boards,” he says, pointing out that you merchandise them differently so when a comsumer comes into the store, the retailer will be able to give them good information about the product. “Our focus is on making you money,” he adds.

Carrigan also gave time during his presentation on the Powerlink system, essentially riser pads for snowboard bindings. “Wide boards suck,” says Carrigan, and these are the answer to solving the problem. There will be four models this season.

Also offered next season will be three different bindings and some apparel, basically moto-style jerseys, and sweatshirts for both men and women.

Later, the Level Glove management gave a presentation about the high-end line that Palmer is going to distribute in the U.S. Snowboarding Business will coninue to follow the trip and will provide a related story about Level gloves in the next few days.

¿Willoughby La Jolla III