Industry news has minimal impact on business for retailers in the Rocky Mountain Region. At Hole in the Wall in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, Supervisor Doug Latham explains that he sees two opposite types of customers in his shop–serious local riders and a more typical tourist set. The visitors do not seem to be informed at all.
“The local clientele, the people who live for snowboarding, are informed,” says Latham. “But they don’t pay retail and ride what they can get deals on.”
Latham says some of his younger customers are informed as far as who rides for which companies, and for this age group it does affect what they buy. Adults, however, may or may not know the information but don’t base purchase decisions on particular industry events.
“Mainstream customers don’t know and don’t care,” says Tom Lee, manager at Blindside in Layton, Utah. “If a person wants it, they’re going to go ahead and buy it.”
Lee says about five percent of his customers are informed, and these are usually the hardcore kids who ride every day. He doesn’t think these customers influence much of what they buy according to industry news. The exception to this is in the case of local distribution for local team riders, which is actually based more on budget.
In Santa Fe, New Mexico, Branch Ellison, manager at Beyond Waves Mountain Surf, agrees that industry news has little impact on business. Ellison feels about twenty percent of his clientele are aware of something like K2 purchasing Ride, but this doesn’t affect their purchases.
“They are more concerned with who actually makes their snowboard and where,” says Ellison.
Ellison does make an important point that from a specialty shop standpoint, more informed customers would actually boost business. Most people aren’t aware of the nature of the industry and don’t see much difference between their quality products and goods they would find at chain stores such as Gart’s.
“We would do better if they would understand their money spent here is going to a better place,” says Ellison, “If they spend it here it goes back into the industry.”
Clientele at World Boards in Bozeman, Montana are also mostly uninformed. Owner Jay Moore says most people don’t know what’s going on. He’s recently heard things like, “Didn’t Ride buy K2?” in his shop.
“In general, nobody knows,” says Moore. “Most people want a true thing–they want a board that lasts.”
In Glendale, Arizona, Kung Fu Snowboards Manager Mike “Chief” Howell says the majority of his customers aren’t aware of industry events. Occasionally, clients will know certain facts but Howell points out that when this does occur, it’s long after when something was actually news: “By the time the customer finds out it is usually two years after the fact,’ says Howell, “and there are no long-lasting repercussions.”