i was once told "a man has his reasons". It was a way of letting me know that although i don't always know someone's motivation for doing what they do everyone does have some justification for the decisions they make and the things that they do. Now these reasons aren't always correct (in fact as i get older i find less and less are) but i suppose if we at least know that there is some reason behind it we should feel better than we would assuming that people acted carelessly and in a haphazard fashion. The last week or so i was reminded of the reasons why we have made many of the decisions that we have as a local skate shop. We are not just trying to create some brick and mortar retail space, we are striving to create a community and a welcoming hub for the skate and snowboard community. Not just somewhere to buy your set-up but somewhere to discuss the great footage you recently saw. Somewhere to talk about the amazing place you just came from and the things you pulled off there. Somewhere to escape from the everyday world and meet with your tribe. Somewhere where there is someone that just understands our lifestyle.
There is a lot of talk in the industry about the effect that online shopping is having, the effect that chain stores are having on core shops, and the effect of boards sports becoming just another section of the big box sporting goods stores. We realize that Long's Board Shop is not just a skateboard and snowboard store but a human store (not that we sell humans, but you get it). Our business is not just trying to get the best products that we can and not just calculating how low we can get our prices while still staying in business, our business is the relationship we create with the people that come through our doors.
When Sarah and i made decisions, like making sure that when you came in it was always one of us owners who you would be dealing with, or to buy a couch so people could watch videos and just come chat, or choosing a location that had a parking lot so that we could have jams out front, we never realized just how many people who came in as customers would end up leaving friends. From seeing a kid becoming a skater for life as he buys his first board to those who stop by the shop every few days just so we can talk - i feel like i am making progress in creating the kind of board shop that i have always wanted to see.
As much as we need products to skate and ride we also need places to just be who we are. For that reason alone core shops will never completely die and i hope that i am able to do this for a very long time because i have even more i hope to do towards my dream board shop.