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Canadian Shop Tour: Halifax’s Pro Skateboards

VIEW: THUMBS ENLARGE
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Bohnam snapbacks on display

Celebrating 26 years in retail, Pro Skateboards has weathered the ups and downs in the market, and is still running a solid business as one of the only skate and snowboard shops in the area at its single location in the heart of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The 5,000 square foot location carries a diverse array of gear, including hardgoods, apparel, outerwear, and protective gear. With the majority of its business coming from brick and mortar, Pro Skates offers a limited selection of shop gear on its website- a model that seems to be proving successful for the retailer.

We caught up with shop co-owner Jon Swinamer to find out more about  what’s happening at the shop recently. A jack of all trades, Swinamer recently did a collaboration with Sitka and Chris Haslam as part of he brand’s Dirty Mountain Collection, creating a knife made from reclaimed skateboard decks and old carbon steel sawmill blades. Swinamer also makes keychains and lanyards which are for sale at the shop.

We checked in with him to learn more about sales in the region, what categories are performing well, and more. Take a virtual tour of the shop and what they’re stocking right here, and get educated on helmet rules, regulations, and the latest styles by Swinamer’s knowledgeable staff:

What ways have you seen the industry evolve since you first founded the shop?

Jon Swinamer, owner of Pro Skates

Jon Swinamer, owner of Pro Skates

I think our business has changed more in the last 5 years than the 20 before that. What the brands are up to, what we’re carrying, and the way people buy has all changed so much. Watches, headphones, “outside” brands in skateshops, things have definitely changed. As far as what we’ve done to adapt, is just that, adapt and try to roll with it.

Is your shop working closer with any particular brands? 
We’re trying to build stronger relationships with the ones who work best with us, like Burton, Nixon, DC, Vans are the big ones that do lots of instore branding and signage. We’ve got some other favourites like Brixton and Sitka for clothing, and Bataleon for snow. All our skate distributors are pretty good to us with payment terms, which is especially helpful these days.

Percentage of inventory dedicated to hardgoods? 

35

Percentage of inventory dedicated to men’s apparel?
25

Percentage of inventory dedicated to junior’s apparel?
5

Percentage of inventory dedicated to accessories?
25

Percentage of inventory dedicated to footwear?
25

Percentage of inventory dedicated to sandals?
-15

What are your top three most profitable product categories?
Shoes, accessories, shop brand.

What has been the single best-selling brand over the past six months?
Our Shop brand.

What is your overall impression of the local market over the past six months?
Skate biz tough, shoe biz tough, snow biz tough…etc

What store (or multiple stores) are your closest competition?
The usual suspects, mall shops and online.

Overall expectations for your business over the next 6-12 months?
Hope to get through these TETs (tough economic times) and prosper.

Is your shop altering the way you buy for 2013?
Fuck yeah, scaled back, no frills.

If yes, how are you altering your buying ?
Taking  advantage of deals when possible, and trying to find new stuff that’s not every-fucking-where. I guess it’s a balance between new cool brands and the mainstream kind of stuff that sells well, but the stuff we still feel good about.

For more information on Pro Skateboards, visit proskates.com or visit the shop at 6451 Quinpool Rd., Halifax NS, B3L 1B1. ph: 902 429 6788