Brett Doyle, Owner, Outer Limits, Charlottetown, P.E.I.
Years in business: 20
Days on hill: 15-20
Where are you seeing growth?
Definitely youth. The product is getting better. It’s really designed for the youth size and weight, and specifically designed for someone who is just learning. That’s what we need if we’re going to see the sport continue to grow.
Are you expanding your product offering this year?
Last year, we were only doing youth packages, and now we’re selling youth components: gloves, helmets and face masks. A lot of the things we used to only offer the older market in the lifestyle area, like shoes, we’ve added youth to that, because we have those kids coming in for snowboards now.
How do you make the decision to pick up a new brand?
Consumer demand is the main thing. But we like to make sure there’s at least a distributor in Canada and hopefully a rep in our area.
What works best for you to move a product?
The company itself is where it starts, driving demand. Having a team, having some programs in place for team, advertising and a good website. And we do the same sort of thing but on a smaller scale, locally. Just getting the right people on the product and on the hill—that’s what influences kids to buy a product the most.
What can vendors do better to support your business?
The first thing is not to compete with us. It’s impossible for me to compete with the manufacturer who’s also selling product to the market. And if you’re going to sell direct to consumer, do it in a way that’s fair; don’t offer free freight and 20 per cent off. I’m not getting that 20 per cent off, and I’m not getting free freight. Or to compensate for us committing to the brand, send a cut of the sale, or ship the product to the store and send the customer here.
What are your biggest concerns for the industry as a whole?
Again, selling direct to the consumer. In the long-term, does that eliminate the local shop? And if it does, does the sport still exist and thrive? The local shop is integral to the whole scheme of things. You need local shops to put on events, and to get riders hooked up and create hype. And if all we turn into is a showroom so kids can come in and try things on and then go home and order it, the little shops are going to fall apart fast.