Retailer: Gordon’s Surf Shop

Location: Point Pleasant Beach, NJ

Years in Business: 5

Interviewee: Craig Gordon

Job Title: says it on my business card so it must be true.

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BTR: You worked in surf retail for many years prior to opening Gordon’s Surf Shop.  How did you get into surf retail?

GORDO: Been in surf retail for 23 years before my shop. I was 19, delivering pizzas until one of my friends that worked at a big surf shop said they were looking for someone that was responsible enough to work a cash register. Basically started as a cashier and learned everything from cleaning bathrooms to buying.

BTR: How has it been now that you own you’re on shop?

Gordo: It’s been an eye opening experience.  The feeling of excitement on the busy days when everything works out perfectly, to dread on the days when you think no one will come in at all. I get to surf most days there are waves, people get handshakes, high fives and hugs, and if I say I’m going to do something I’m going to try my hardest to do it.  If I could do it all over…I’d make the exact same decision.  My uncle Chris said to me before I opened. You are in business for yourself now. Every morning when you wake up you will not know how much money you’ll make, so go make it.

BTR: What are you doing to evolve with today’s retail market?

GORDO: Todays click and ship market is brutal so I stick to what is essential and emotional to surfing.  I make sure I’m stocked on everything you need to get in the water or to go skate all the time. I also make sure I give my customers not “just service” but excellent service whenever they visit. From a bar of wax to fully restoring vintage boards, I try to make sure that the customer is happy with their experience. In a world that you can get almost anything with one click you have to make that customer want to support you and keep coming back. For me its meeting and building the relationships I have with customers.

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BTR: Are their any retailers from outside our industry that you pull inspiration from and why?

GORDO: I keep an eye on what other industries that have a service aspect to their model do.  I feel that the traditional retail model of “fill the store and they will come” is over.

BTR: What makes New Jersey Surf Shop’s and shops from your region different from the rest?

Shops from our region are different from the rest because of the extreme degrees of weather surf and crowds. From 80 degree water to one foot longboard waves and a population that explodes in the summer to 36 degree water, snow on the ground and 6-8 foot kegs with barely anyone around makes this place home. If you want to be a surf shop in NJ you need to be ready for all of it.

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