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Duke: Maybe retailers should start brands

By Tiffany Montgomery
January 26, 2008 5:57 PM

Duke Edukas, co-owner of Surfside Sports in Costa Mesa, had an interesting idea for the future at a retail panel at ASR. He thought sometime down the road key retailers in certain geographic areas could team up and create their own brands.


"We could go vertical," he said. "We could get some venture capital. It's a little far fetched, but...if (brands) want to compete with us directly, maybe it's time to compete with them. We know enough to do it."


The panel also discussed:

 

  • How to operate in a tough retail environment (watch inventory and expenses)

 

  • The growing threat of the internet, from manufacturers going direct to venture capital-backed internet companies that eliminate the risk of shopping online by offering free shipping both ways and free returns

 

  • The importance of maintaining strong relationships with manufacturers and making your voice heard with them.

Duke Edukas Bruce Cromartie Mikke PiersonThe panel included Bruce Cromartie (middle) of BC Surf & Sport, who operates 16 stores in six states and Mikke Pierson (right) of ZJ Boarding House in Santa Monica.


One big concern Bruce mentioned: the slowdown in the skate shoe market. He said Nike's popularity is important to anybody who sells skate shoes but also an issue because it's not such a good thing to have one brand be such a big sales driver.

"It's nice to have depth," he said.


The more established skate brands have more of a "stale feel" in the market right now, Bruce said.


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