Welcome to the second-ever issue of Everything Skateboarding. Thanks for taking the time to check it out and give it a look. I think I can speak for the entire staff when I say that we genuinely appreciate the sincere love and enthusiastic feedback that we all received with Issue One. Seriously: thank you so, so much. We love you all.
The February and March issues of Everything Skateboarding have evolved over the past month to materialize as the “Spotlight On The Skateshops” double-issue. Of course, there’s a short story that goes with that, and explains how it all came to pass.
In the world of internet publishing, there is no such thing as “stopping the presses”- neither literally, nor figuratively. Instead, random events have a weird way of organically, yet substantially, steering the content and the coverage. This month, I started our “skateshop outreach” in earnest. I had no idea going into it, just how significant it would ultimately be.
At first, this was simply designed as a way of promoting the website to the reader base, and to make sure that the shops that I was calling were still in business. Then, if they were, I asked them if they wanted to be added to The Skateshop List. It’s totally free, and there are no strings attached; it’s simply another small way that we can give back to the community that gives us so much. It’s really the least we could do.
In speaking to shops, however, I found that bigger, far more substantive conversations came straight to the surface. I immediately got the impression that shops have a lot to say these days, but very few eager listeners. Being in the media, though, active listening is a finely honed skill; as a result, it tends to come pretty easily to me. The shops that I called had a lot of struggles on their plates, and heaps of stories to tell. I enthusiastically absorbed them all like a dry sponge. And I really, really enjoyed the experience.
Around the same time, one of my local skate shops approached me for some help. I’ve long thought that our industry would go really far toward stability and sustainability, if our brands and our media could do something to tangibly support our retailers. Brian Upton at The Sk8 Haus in Surprise, Arizona, gave me the opportunity to do just that. Again, the request was simple enough: he just needed some help with some fairly tedious tasks, and a few promotional pointers here and there. It really wasn’t all that much to ask, so I jumped on in to help whenever and wherever I could. In the past few months, we’ve both learned a lot about the day-to-day struggles that the modern retailer faces… and we’ve enacted a whole host of quick, easy, inexpensive ideas that almost any shop could use to improve their engagement, their effectiveness, their customer service, their community initiative, and their profitability. We’ll be talking about that, in detail, next month.
I was asked a few weeks back, what “the point” of Everything Skateboarding is. Well, of course, I’m a pretty ambitious bloke, so there are quite a few “points” that I could touch on. But this month, my immediate, off-the-cuff answer was that I wanted to do my small part to architect a parallel industry template. One that inclusively invites manufacturers, brands, brick and mortar retailers, and the skater-consumers to work together, hand in hand, with a mutually supportive ethos, to build a truly skater-owned and operated industry that serves the customer, and serves them remarkably well. Put another way: our industry should be one-hundred-percent skater run and operated at all times. The ethos should be that skater-owned manufacturers support skater-owned brands that, in turn, support skater-owned shops; ultimately, they all exist to support the everyday skater in the street. And vice versa: it’s very important that skaters genuinely support all of these skater-owned cogs in the wheel, because if they don’t, the wheel falls apart, and we’re left with The Big Uncaring Corporate Machine being the only alternative. And I don’t think anybody in their right mind really wants that.
That skaters-supporting-skaters ethos would be industry perfection, right there. That’s a goal well worth working hard, and working tirelessly toward.
The media, I believe, has a huge role to play in that architecture, as we (generally) work in an even-handed manner for all the participating parties, with a minimum of profiteering self-interest. Put more simply: we’re looking out for everyone’s interests, all along the way. That’s our job. That’s what we’re here to do.
Here at Everything Skateboarding, we take our jobs pretty seriously. We’re ready, willing, and able to do our small part to make the dream of an all-supportive, by-skaters-for-skaters industry a tangible, concrete reality.
The question is: are you?
Enjoy the issue.
Bud Stratford, Executive Director, Everything Skateboarding