We have talked about the value of your local shop before, but in the wake of our decision to close the Neverbored shop it seems like a topic very worthy of revisiting.
If you open a shop, it’s likely that it reflects some passion you have in life. You open it to get closer to that passion, and to spread your excitement amongst your customers. Ironically it turns out that you are more likely to find yourself with less time to enjoy what you love.
That’s part of what happened at Neverbored. Our goals were always to spread the stoke and build a community…specifically a paddleboard community, though we dreamed of building a backcountry snowboarding community too (even though we don’t live near the mountains.) But what ended up happening was working 7 days a week, not having time or personnel to organize events we wanted to, and generally just not getting to do as much paddling and snowboarding as we would like.
We’re not complaining…we don’t regret having the shop for a minute. It has been an amazing experience. The people we have met, and the things we have learned will stay with us for the rest of our lives. We have had opportunities that we wouldn’t otherwise have had, and many of our friends are a direct result of the shop. So we are definitely not complaining. There just comes a time when you have to re-evaluate your priorities and cut your losses. We need to spend more time outdoors. We want to be out on the water and on the snow and in the mountains. And hanging on to a shop that we could never quite get off the ground stopped making sense.
The point of all of this beyond letting you know about some of our changes is to talk a bit about the changing landscape of the local shop and the snowboard and paddleboard industries in general. We have talked before about the value of your local shop, but it bears repeating.
Retail is tough under the best of circumstances, but these days it’s tougher than ever. For brick and mortar stores competing with online is one huge challenge. You can get anything, and quickly, without leaving the comfort of your home. But that’s not all that is making it so hard for local sup and snowboard shops to survive.
In this electronic age, human contact has definitely taken a hit. A lot of us have lost site of the value of human interaction and connection. There have been studies that show that people get less satisfaction from items purchased online than those bought in stores where they have that human interaction. Makes sense really…we’re basically social creatures who crave connection, and you just can’t get that online.
If you are lucky enough to have a great local shop, you know what a resource it can be. Not only does it carry great gear for you- the people who work there know about it. They know enough about the equipment and the industry that they can match you up with gear that will fit your needs. They will ask you lots of questions to learn what you want your new board, bindings, or paddle to do. And they listen to your answers so that you will be happy with whatever you end up with.
Many great shops also demo gear so you can find out for yourself what you like and dislike. Nothing compares to your own experience.
People who work at great shops will have stories. They will be able to tell you where to go, give you tips, share experiences, and connect with you. That’s really the point…connecting with like-minded people. Finding your tribe. And when you travel and visit shops in other areas you realize that members of your tribe are everywhere. As a friend said the other day “we’re all brothers [and sisters] on the mountain [and on the water]”.
If we have learned nothing else it is how great the paddle and snow communities are. We have been welcomed with open arms in cities and towns all over the US and Canada. And we have met so many people that we now have connections in many more than the cities we have been fortunate enough to visit thus far.
These are two communities that we are incredibly honored to have contributed to in some small way. And they are two that we are eager to become more active participants in now that having no time should not be an excuse.
Thank you so much for following us over the years. It has been a really wild ride. And we have so much grattitude for everyone who helped us make it this far. We are hoping to keep the blog going. There’s a lot of great info on here (if we don’t say so ourselves). And we would hate to see that lost. But keep your eyes out for our new format that we hope will make the blog easier to navigate.
Tags: specialty sup shop, board shop ri, local snowboard shop ri, paddleboard shop, smithfield ri sup shop, snowboard shops ri, specialty paddleboard shop, local sup shop, local snowboard shop, board shops ri