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Vans and Thalia Surf Shop are partnering on a new store in Laguna Beach that will be adjacent to and connect with the existing Thalia Surf Shop.
The store, called Vans by Thalia Surf Shop, will open next week.
Thalia is known for its “boutiquey” approach and its cultivation of brands that are not found in many surf shops.
The new store will highlight Vans surf apparel and footwear, in addition to some lifestyle pieces, and will showcase some marketing projects as well.
Vans is making a big push in surf and feels it has a rightful place in the category with its history and its longtime sponsorship of events such as the Triple Crown of Surfing.
I asked Vans Vice President of Marketing Doug Palladini some questions about the new store.
Vans by Thalia Surf Shop will be operated on a daily basis by employees of Thalia Surf Shop. Vans and Thalia management will work together on product mix, merchandising, store appearance and marketing.
Vans took this route for a couple of reasons. First, we were able to join with an existing retail partner in Thalia Surf Shop who we consider as the leading innovator in surf boutiques and has been, at the same time, very supportive of Vans and our surf programs.
Second, we are exploring all forms of retail, and partner stores have been very successful for Vans in other regions globally, so why not at home?
This is a long-term commitment. Vans is working hard to have a meaningful role in surf, and we have always over-invested in our key wholesale partners. This opportunity provides a path to continue to do both. Nick and his team have done strong work in becoming part of the Laguna community, and we hope to add another layer to the foundation he has built.
In short, yes, but it's not limited to surf shops. Where we have key wholesale partners interested, and a business model that works for both our brand and our partner, we will consider those opportunities.
That said, we have much to learn from this experience and we look forward to testing many different things with Nick and his team in Laguna.
See Page 2 to see the full press release with more details