I’ve been talking with Marc, a guy who opened his own brick-and-mortar skateboard shop, and who has a lot of experience with skateboarding business. Marc is also very active online – you might have seen some of his posting on this website. I asked Marc to share some of his advice for people who want to open their own skate shop, and Marc was happy to help. The following info is thanks for Marc, along with Grant Cardone and Tom Hopkins.
Getting started is easy. Here is what you will need
- Business License
- Credit Card--- for purchasing inventory
- Supplier--- Google skateboard distributor to find the closest one to your town---- you will need multiple suppliers
- Building-- start with the smallest building with the lowest rent-- you can expand later
The shop needs to be in a great location with plenty of parking. I have found that the shop needs to be as close to the local skatepark as possible. This way the skaters are always close to your shop in case they break a deck, need parts, or want to just stop by the shop the see your new products.
Setting up Shop
You will need these items to get started:
- Glass case for products
- Slat wall for decks
- TV- dvd player for watching skateboard videos
- Tools for working on boards (sockets, skate tool, razor blades, screwdrivers, Allen wrenches)
- Bearing press (this is very important for building boards quickly when you have a busy Saturday or during Christmas)
Inventory -- give choices
You need to carry only quality products. You will need a variety of products in different price ranges. You can stock lower price decks but make sure they are good quality boards made of rock hard Canadian maple. You will also need to carry pro boards for the better skaters but most beginners don't want to spend $150 on their first skateboard. Most beginners want a $59 or less on a skateboard to start out with and upgrade as they get better. I also recommend some nice price completes (especially during Christmas) but 99% of your inventory needs to not be built so the skaters can choose their own setup for a custom-made board. To be successful, you need to have lots of choices. Sam Walton (Owner of Wall-Mart) once said " The more choices you give people, the more they will buy."
The best way I found to advertise is with stickers and shop t shirts. Don't waste your money on radio advertising or newspaper ads when you first start your business. The stickers are a great way to get your name out there and every skater will plaster them on all of their skateboards and their cars. They will also wear your shirts to the skatepark. Another way to advertise is to get a facebook account, and create a fan page. All the skaters will be glad to be your friend on facebook and you can post bulletins on specials and any events you will organizing. If you want to get an idea of how a facebook account works, check mine out at http://www.facebook.com/marcsboardshop to give you an idea how to start yours...
Your best day for business will be Saturday. I would open early on Saturday at 8am . This way you can get in and get ready for the day before the customers show up. On opening day I would have a free giveaway at 12 noon. On my opening day, I gave away a skateboard, wheels, posters, and stickers. I also had hot dogs and drinks delivered and had a crowd of close to 100 skaters show up the first day. You can advertise this on myspace and hand out paper flyers that you drop off at the skatepark starting a couple weeks before the grand opening. I would also schedule a skate demo at 1pm with the best skaters in town if you have the room on you parking lot. On opening day , I would buy some balloons and tie them up outside to make it look exciting because you're having a huge event.
I feel selling is an important part of making a skateshop successful. You can have the best looking shop and the best products but if you don't have sales training you will never make it. I'm not talking about being a fast talker and pressuring customers to buy. I'm talking about taking care of the customers needs and wants. A famous sales trainer Tom Hopkins once said, "Become an expert adviser, not a salesperson."
I feel your attitude is the single most important thing to make your business successful. Service needs to be your main goal. You need to have the best attitude and the best service in town. If you want to learn more about selling and having a great attitude for success, I recommend Grant Cardone's new book-- Selling -- "The Secret to Success" available at Amazon.com. Grant says, " An individual that combines a great attitude with a great product becomes unstoppable"
Continue on for more store help, master List advice, holding events and more...