“We definitely brought in more brands this year for both summer and winter. No new categories, but a lot more brands.” —Abby Furrer, Manager and Buyer, Rude Boys, Banff, AB
Years in Busienss: 27
Days on Hill: 90-100
What brands are you excited about?
I’m a big Niche fan. It’s probably the brand we sell the most when it comes to snowboarding. And I’m super stoked on 686 outerwear this year.
Where are you seeing growth?
On the girls side, especially in hard goods. I’ve found that at the beginning of the season before the snow even started to fall, girls were more excited about spending the money on better quality products, rather than guys just wanting a good deal.
Have you expanded your product offering within the last year?
We definitely brought in more brands this year for both summer and winter. No new categories, but a lot more brands.
How do you make the decision to pick up a new brand?
I have to personally like it myself, and having a good rep that is actually passionate about the brand definitely helps. And I talk to friends about it for quite a while before I actually bring it in, get the general consensus on it.
What works best to move a product?
Staff incentives. If the staff sell a certain amount of something, they gets something for free. That’s definitely the best way to get the staff motivated to push product.
What can vendors do better to support your business?
Be more readily available, especially with the bigger suppliers. Just getting information from them, quicker response times. I get that we’re a smaller shop, but we are one of the longest standing shops in Alberta. I think that mutual respect is helpful.
What are your biggest challenges in running a retail store right now?
Building customer report so it generates repeat business. And trying to beat those online American retailers by convincing customers it’s not actually going to be cheaper for them.
Your biggest concerns with the industry right now?
I’m kind of worried that snowboarding’s reached its peak, with the Olympics and everything, and people have seen the best of what people can do, and are going to get over it and move on.