When COVID-19 forced surf shops to shut their doors to the public many shop owners worried about making enough sales to pay the bills. Jetty owner, Cory Higgins didn’t hesitate and came up with a plan to help. He quickly launched the Rising Tides retail rescue mission to help with the financial burden retailers would face in the upcoming months. We reached out to Cory to see how the mission is going and what the plans are for when the pandemic is over.
BTR: Why did you decide to start the Rising Tide support campaign?
CORY: There’s kinda 2 parts to this. First we saw all of our retailers closing down and putting all orders on hold which is obviously not good for anyone, them or us. So we knew they were going to need help when they got back open. Secondly, it’s our gut reaction as a brand to find a way to help when there’s a crisis of any kind affecting our circle. Ever since our first fundraiser in 2005 for a buddy who had testicular cancer. We helped him pay his hospital bills by throwing a mini golf fundraiser called “Putt for a Nut.” It felt good to help people, so we just continued doing it when situations presented themselves. This was obviously one of those situations, so we figured out how we could most effectively make an impact, and executed.
BTR: How’s it been going? Can you share how much you have been able to donate to local surf shops?
CORY: It has been great and has allowed us to keep some staff employed for printing, processing and shipping. Screen Printing in-house was a big factor, since NJ didn’t shut down Manufacturing businesses so we had the option to keep that portion of our business open. As for donation, the tally is still going and sales have continued to be strong enough to keep the initiative alive for 3 weeks now so I don’t have a dollar figure for you yet, but I can say that exactly 199 different Jetty retailers have been “voted” for to have the shirt sale benefit them so that’s pretty incredible. And to date we’ve sold over 2100 tees, 1300 hoodies, and 700 stickers in this initiative. It is pretty obvious from the data as well, that the retailers that really got behind the program and helped push through multiple social posts and mass emails to their networks are the ones who are going to benefit the most.
BTR: How has the feedback from the shops and consumers been?
CORY: Really amazing, almost every one of our retailers posted the initiative on their social channels at least once, and the feedback has been all positive from shops and consumers. The continued life of the program really can be attributed to the consumers posting on social when they receive their gear and thereby marketing to their own networks, that has created a relatively steady stream and allowed Rising Tides to keep going for a bit longer than expected.
BTR: Will you continue with Rising Tide or a similar type local support through your web sales after the pandemic is over?
CORY: For awhile now we have been talking about creating a drop down menu on our site to allow consumers to pick which of our Jetty Rock Foundation initiatives they wanted to support with their purchase. We run an Oyster Shell Recycling Program with some local partners, help the local schools through some other programs, throw events to help people in need, and a bunch of other things through our Non-Profit arm of Jetty (https://jettylife.com/pages/jetty-rock-foundation
). So when we devised the Rising Tides program, this was the perfect opportunity to have our developer make that drop down system for us. That said, no we don’t plan to continue Rising Tides specifically after the Pandemic, but yes, we have been discussing how great this drop down menu option to pick your favorite Jetty retailer is and how many other applications there will be to use it in the future. So i’d expect to see some variation of retailer support continue on from us.