All I could say was “Holy shit.” Six months ago I was trying on a pair of DC Smith 2.0 sneakers in Active Ride Shops newest San Diego location while in town for ASR. Yesterday I was reading about Active filing for bankruptcy. You can read the gory details of debtors over on Shop-Eat-Surf.com. But to me there is a larger issue at hand and it’s pretty much time we talked about it without worrying about hurting feelings or backlash. I have several friends that own shops on the East Coast and I’m always excited when I walk into a skate or snow shop that is going their own non-big box route. These shops are disappearing at an alarming rate. The economy may be down, the discounts online may be deep but as skaters and snowboarders we need to be held accountable for nurturing our own scene. That includes supporting local shops.
I’ve written quite a bit how online stores are great and how efficient they can be which is great for the consumer. However, now I’m more concerned about the backlash effect. When you go and purchase online it takes money out of the pocket of your local shop. In some areas shop owners aren’t all that keen to building the scene and for them it’s business. The other side of the same coin is the shop owner who tries to grow skateboarding or snowboarding by putting on events, movie premiers and contests. Sure it’s an extension of marketing their business but without growing the audience they won’t stay in that business. without the shop the scene loses a vital local touchpoint to sustaining itself. Do you think a dot-com will come down to your local town and lobby for funds to build a skatepark? Maybe you can get all the local business owners together. Best of luck with that. Most likely it’s not going to happen. This is where the shop comes into play as local business that is taxed and has a say in community affairs. Your local shop becomes a bridge between you and the powers that be.
Addin insult to injury was the one-two punch of today. This came after finding out about Active in the form of seeing Syndrome Distribution selling decks direct with free shipping and grip for $49.99. For local shop owners this was another kick in the balls from a company that should be working with them in the difficult times. I fully understand that manufacturers need to get rid of product but if we reverse engineer that cost I’m sure there are shops that would buy those Plan B boards at a much deeper discounted price. Overall, pretty disappointing that this was flown under the radar and not even communicated to shop owners. I would not be stocking Plan B decks right now.
So this is where it’s time for me to put my money where my mouth is. I’m a big fan of buying things off the interweb for skating and snowboarding because it saves me money. Time for me to be realistic about what I need and what my skate and snowboarding community needs. Yep, time to take responsibility. So I’m returning my latest package back to Brociety.com. No need for me to peruse the shred dog closeouts on Sierra Snowboards. Moving forward I’ll only buy what I need and if I purchase online it will be from a site that’s foundation still is rooted in a brick and mortar location. Alpine Ski Shop, Skate Park of Tampa, Active, Elite Boardshop, Palace 5ive, and Arrival Boardshop will all be getting my money as needed. if you have to go online to pack up why not reduce the waste, recycle brand new in box kicks or pass along the support by using a product like Broslist.com. Then take that money and reinvest it into your own local economy.
I said it up above and I’ll say it again. My money is going to shops that support skating and snowboarding in my city and region. I hope you’ll do the same. I’m not telling you to not shop online. If you have need and budget do what you need to do but think about this: who is going to host a rail jam at your mountain or best a trick contest at a local ledge. Think about who is part of your community and who is taking your money. You aren’t without options ask about price matching ask about that free sheet of grip most shop owners will work with you. So as skaters, as snowboarders we are all in this together. There will be no bailout for us. Once these shops are gone they will not return and it’s up to all of us to make sure the scene stays alive. Remember that next time you’re about to click “buy.”