What does “shop local” mean to your local snowboard or sup shop?
In a word…EVERYTHING!
Not unlike other small businesses, your local snowboard shop exists to serve the community. Of course we rely on the residents of our towns and surrounding areas to keep us going through sales. But there is something different about an honest to goodness “local shop”… be it snowboard, sup, skate, bike, etc.
These local shops are more than just places to buy the latest gear…they build and are part of the communities that they serve. The thing that sets a good shop apart from the rest is the people who live the lifestyle that they sell. They ride the boards, wear the gear, use the accessories, know what’s good, know what’s not as good, and they match you up with the gear that is right for you. You can share your favorite places to ride and swap stories from the mountain. That’s the difference. You can go to a big box store and you might come across someone who knows their stuff and can give you great advice, but often they are spread over several departments full of stuff that they might or might not know anything about.
Some things that your local snowboard shop can offer that other places, big box stores, online, etc. cannot.
Personal experience! It’s all fine and good to read reviews of products, but talking to people who have actually ridden your options is a very different experience. It’s interactive, you can ask specific questions that you have and have a conversation about it rather than just read about one person’s experience. There is a value to people’s time and experience, and the best way to show your appreciation for them sharing both with you is to support them with your purchase.
While smaller stores will not be able to stock everything due to size, they are usually happy to special order things for you if they are available. Sure you might be able to find something online since some of these online warehouse operations are huge. But if you can get the same thing for the same price at your local shop where they have ridden the gear and are members of your community, that seems like a pretty good deal.
You might discover gems that you didn’t know existed…it’s easy to find information about the most popular items, but it’s not so easy to come across unsung heroes of the gear world. You are more likely to find smaller, less mainstream brands. Some of these companies are making some of the best stuff out there. By talking to your local shop, you can get in on these nuggets of information that can put you ahead of the curve gear wise.
Bus trips, clinics, rail jams, etc…local shops sponsor these local events. These are community building events that get like minded people together. You get to hang with your friends, meet cool new people, learn fun stuff, and more.
Specialty items…if you are looking for splitboarding gear in RI…there is only one place to go. It is a niche and it’s not for everyone, but if you want to talk to the people who are doing it, in the shop where they sell the gear, there’s only one place. Backcountry is just one example. There are other specialties within these sports and finding a little corner of the world where you can get the equipment and “talk shop” about it is worth the trip.
We care about each and every customer who comes through our door. We appreciate that you took time out of your schedule to check out our shop and see what we have going on. We love to go paddling with our customers or meet them on the mountain and take some laps together. We love when our customers become our friends!
Shopping online and one stop shopping are easy and convenient…no doubt. But the potential for interaction is very different. And the potential for learning from people who live the life is also very different. We LOVE what we do! And we are grateful to be able to do it. We want more than anything to share it with everyone…so when you come to your local snowboard or sup shop, that’s what you get. And that’s why “shop local” means everything to us.