While I was there I got a chance to catch up with a few brands and buyers. The overall sentiment was that hardgoods are starting to see a slight pickup at retail.
Active Ride Shop Buyer Tyson Boretz said hardgoods sales have improved dramatically over the last few months.
Per Welinder, President of Blitz Distribution also said retail is starting to embrace skateboarding again. “Skate lifestyle as a trend is definitely coming back,” he said.
Welinder showed off a new technology called Heli Pop that Blitz has added inside Baker skateboards.
(Right: Per Welinder, president of Blitz Distribution.)
The middle layer of the Andrew Reynolds model skateboard is infused with a material used on the outside of helicopters, and is meant to be extremely durable.
Welinder said there are a lot of new skate brands entering the market, and the only way for established brands to stay ahead is through increased marketing, or patented innovation. Welinder seemed pretty excited about Heli Pop and hopes it will stick.
A lot of the other brands at the show had a model with new technology. Active Buyer Tyson Boretz and Stuart Nebecker from retailer Powder and Sun, both said technology and innovation are important for some of his customers, but not yet to the point where it has had a dramatic effect on sales.
At Deluxe Productions, I met with Mickey Reyes, who also spoke about new technology and materials for his brands. He said Deluxe has continued to innovate, even in the down economy, including the creation of flat spot resistant F1 wheels to the Spitfire line.
(Right: Mickey Reyes of Deluxe.)
He also said that while shops have changed buying habits over the last few years, Deluxe sold more decks than ever in just the last year.
At Powell-Peralta, Jeff Pixley and Mike Taylor said the brand has gained market share in the last year. They attributed their growth to having an authentic brand with over 30 years of history. The Powell-Peralta reissue decks are in high demand.
Next year, they said Stacy Peralta will become more involved with the brand as his time will free up from filming documentaries. Peralta is currently working on a documentary and coffee table book about the Bones Brigade.