Tri-county surf shops have taken quite a beating during the past year’s storm of changing retail trends, poor surfing conditions and a down economy. Now they’re looking for new ways to ride it out.
Doug Yartz, owner and manager of Goleta-based surf shop Surf Country, could only sum up his store’s sales performance in one word: “horrible.”
The 2008 Surf Industry Manufacturer Association’s Retail Distribution Study foreshadowed the economic pains that were about to hit the tri-county surf industry. Between 2006 and 2008, nationwide surf industry sales had dropped from $5.51 billion to $5.32 billion, a 3.5 percent decline. The total number of surf shops in the U.S. has also declined, with 156 stores, or 7.6 percent of the total industry, closing their doors.
Yartz said his store sales will be down about 30 percent this year on top of the 10 percent decline from the previous year.
[Editor’s note: Since the original publication of this article in the print edition of the Business Times on Sept. 11, 2009, Esteem Surf Co. in Santa Barbara, which is mentioned later, has closed.]