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Tiffany Montgomery
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BRA wants skate brands back at Surf Expo

By Tiffany Montgomery
October 06, 2009 6:52 AM

Updated at 8:47 a.m. with additional context from BRA Executive Director Melissa Clary.

The Board Retailers Association sent around a message yesterday about a petition to get skate brands to attend Surf Expo.

BRA also brought up the petition at the IASC Retailer Roundtable at ASR in September.

Many skate brands have pulled out of the major trade shows after complaining about high costs and atmospheres that don't match the skate aesthetic. Some brands have explored other ways to reach retail customers, including through regional shows.

Here's some more information from Melissa about how the petition came about:

"The idea for the petition originated during an IASC/BRA Skate Roundtable Meeting at Surf Expo in August. Some of the skate shops attending the show expressed concern over the lack of skate, specifically shoe, manufacturers present. The petition allows core East Coast Skate Shops the opportunity to come together as a united voice to ask skate companies to continue to support their shops and parks by coming out to the East Coast and providing them the chance for some face time. We all know how important networking is for business.

"I think it is important to state that we recognize the continued issues with show dates, the East Coast distribution model and the expenses associated with exhibiting at a tradeshow, and while we don't have solutions for those problems, we still feel that manufacturers can justify the trip when retailers are taking time away from the shop to see them. Both IASC and Surf Expo have indicated that the petition would serve as an added means of encouragement in getting skate manufacturers re-involved.

"The Skate Petition was discussed during the IASC/BRA Skate Roundtable at ASR as well so manufacturers, tradeshow reps and the skate association are already aware of the effort underway. It wasn't a conscious decision to "go public" since everyone involved is on board and supportive of the effort.

"It is too early to know the impact of the skate petition. Our obvious hope is that it will increase the opportunities for face-to-face interaction between skate retailers and manufacturers on the East Coast."

Here is the message that BRA sent about the petition. It starts with the "click here" sentence. I am working to get a comment from IASC about the petition.

BRA Message

Click here to sign petition.

We, the undersigned core skate shops have come together for the purpose of petitioning skate and shoe manufacturers to attend the upcoming Surf Expo tradeshow, January 14 -16, 2010, in Orlando, Florida at the Orange County Convention Center. As attendees of the Surf Expo show, it has become obvious that skate manufacturers have been noticeably absent from the show floor for the past year-and-a-half. Not only does this impede the growth and development of relationships between manufacturers and retailers, it also diminishes the skate vibe and opinion of the health of the industry, while serving to drive a further wedge between the shops who serve as the point of contact with consumers and manufacturers who serve as the developer of consumer product.

Despite recent drops in skate participation and the more obvious impact of a strained economy, the fact remains that the East Coast is a viable market for the skate industry. As retailers, we rely on the Surf Expo tradeshow to not only conduct official business, which we acknowledge is primarily done through the distributors, but also to touch base with industry leaders and brand managers like yourself. Surf Expo is our primary opportunity as East Coast shops to spend time with skate company executives, have a beer or dinner and synergize on events, industry happenings and collaborative efforts.

We understand that times are tough but if we as retailers are taking the time away from our stores, you as manufacturers have no excuse not to be there. As customers we are asking that you send a company representative to Surf Expo in January on behalf of your brand(s). We understand that Surf Expo is going to great lengths to decrease exhibit costs and reach out to the skate community with travel and hotel discounts. Surf Expo is also partnering with distributors like Eastern Skate Supply to enhance the vibe of the skate section, create skate friendly areas and a contest series to add credibility to the show. Now is your time to get involved. Contact Doog Becker, Surf Expo Skate Sales Manager at 678-781-7958 or via email at dbecker@surfexpo.com to discuss exhibit opportunities, hotel and travel discounts, or to get involved in development of the skate contest and show floor.

Thank you,
Your Friends at BRA - Board Retailers Association


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