ASB MAGAZINE: Due to the impact COVID-19 is having on board shops globally, the team behind Board Shop Day have decided to postpone the date to September 19th, 2020. According to Building The Revolution Founder Mike Vavak, the shift from May was due to concern for the personal health of store owners and the health of their business.
“We will celebrate properly once this is all over,” says Mike.
The inaugural Board Shop Day in May 2019 was a huge success and has only grown in popularity alongside Building The Revolution which has amassed over 7.5k followers on Instagram. In February, the US Board Retailers Association announced it would host its own Skate Shop Day, held on February 19th. The move paved the way for Board Shop Day to change its name in 2021.
“We feel the best way to support the board shops and culture we love is to evolve. We’re stoked how the first Skate Shop Day was received and we want to support that day 100%. This is why we changed Board Shop Day to Surf Shop Day in 2021, explains Mike.
Some brands like Ocean and Earth had already made limited edition products with the Board Shop Day logo for 2020. We caught up with Mike for a run down on the new date, new name and more on the impact of Covid-19 amongst US specialty sports retailers.
Read our interview with Mike and how he’s ‘Building The Revolution One Board Shop At A Time’ here.
Can you update us on the new date for Surf Shop Day?
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a negative impact on Board Shops globally. The majority of the shops have closed their doors to the public, focusing on personal delivery and their ecommerce. The decision to postpone Board Shop Day was made to make sure doors are open and people are ready to celebrate. The new date for 2020 is Sept 19th.
What has been the impact on COVID 19 on the retailers you talk too?
Retailers in the USA have been forced to close their doors unless they are deemed ‘essential’. Unfortunately, Board Shops are not considered ‘essential’ so shops have had to close their doors to the public. Independent retailers are creative, resourceful people who are finding ways to push forward when most people would play the victim and throw in the towel. Shops are focusing on curbside pickups, home delivery, and their ecommerce. I’ve also seen a few shops focus on making limited products, doing ding repairs along with repairs and updates to the shop.
Skate Hardgoods sales are actually doing well because you can skate at home alone. Skate Shop owners have been doing a great job keeping everyone entertained through social media with challenges and home skate clips.
How has the economic impact of COVID-19 affected you personally?
I was laid off from a job I love. I’ve worked for this company for 6 years and I planned on working there forever. It’s owned by really good people who treat people right. They hope to hire me back when this is all over but who knows when that will be.
Tell us a little more about the #supportlocal campaign in the US
It’s been said that a simple smile can brighten up someone’s day. I’ve taken that same concept and asked the @building_the_revolution community to take photos of themselves holding a sign that reads ‘Support Your Local Surf Shop’, post the photo and tag your local surf shops. That simple gesture may give shops the positive reinforcement they need to keep pushing forward. We are all in this together and we need to show our love and support to the people who followed passion and opened a small business. I hate to imagine what our communities would look like without them. I’ve been overwhelmingly stoked on how many people are posting pictures of them holding signs and I know the shops appreciate it too.
Why was it necessary to push ahead with BSD?
Board Shops deserve to be celebrated. There would be no ‘Industry’ if it weren’t for the board shops that built it. We are not going to let a virus stop the celebration; we will just push it back to make sure everyone is well and healthy. Then, we’ll party
What retailers will survive, and who will not in this current environment?
I feel like the retailers that have focused on growing their communities will have an advantage. At the end of the day people go to a store because they want an experience and to be part of a tribe. People who shop online just want product and don’t care about what’s behind it. When this is all done your community will still be there.
Also, retailers that are using what they can to stay in contact with their community like social media. There is a Surf Shop in New Jersey called ‘Peace of Wood’ that is holding daily virtual paint jams on Instagram. Kristina, who owns the store, is an artist and she teaches an art class every day to anyone who joins the Peace of Wood live feed. On Tuesday, they’ve added a taco party to the event. Peace of Wood will come out on top when all this is over.
I think retailers who play the victim or villain will not survive in this current environment. We are all hurt and affected by what’s going on but it won’t help to sit and complain or ask, ‘why me’ ?. It won’t help you to blame everyone else. Your only path to survival is to be a guide or a hero. We all need to Inspire or lead the way.
What will the surf industry look like this time next year?
If everyone does their part and stays home the virus will naturally burn out. This will allow board shop doors to re-open sooner and everyone can go back to work sooner. The sooner that happens the sooner we will start to get back on track.
What will this time next year look like? I wish I had the magic 8 ball that could tell you. My gut feeling is surfers are itching to get back to where they belong. I don’t think we will rebound quickly but I feel by this time next year things will be back to normal.
Please Support Your Local Surf Shop. We need them.