30/30: Surfside Raises The Bar For Shops Across The Country

Surfside

We’re bringing back our 30 Shops In 30 Days column for the month of April as a way to keep a close eye on what’s happening with retailers across the country. Over the next month, we’ll feature a new in-depth shop profile every day on twsbiz.com. Is your shop interested in being profiled? Drop us a line at business@transworld.net.

SEE ALL 30 SHOPS ON OUR CALENDAR PAGE

For the past two years Surfside has won both the TransWorld Business Overall Shop of the Year and Regional Shop of the Year Awards. Clearly an influential shop in SoCal’s surf, snow, and skate culture, Surfside was first opened in 1975 and bought by present day owners Duke Edukas and Paul Burnett in 1992. Since then, the owners have focused on providing a variety of brands and products, and continually improving customer relationships.

As a core retailer, Edukas believes that catering to the local community is key to success. “We’re all different types of retailers.  We all have our own style in the way we approach our business. We have shops in different geographic areas, and have customers from different demographics, and socioeconomic backgrounds. We are all unique unto ourselves, but, we should all have the same philosophy: Stoking out our customers,” he says.”Our most important goal: stoke out the local community, in every way, shape, and form.”

Stoking out customers is what Surfside has relied on throughout the past few years during the economic struggle. Edukas says continually improving customer relationships  is what brings customers back again and again. “I tell everyone that works here that I don’t care if someone leaves the store without buying something— something that kind of goes against everything we’ve always learned in retail,” he says. “I tell them that the most important thing is not how much they buy, but how welcome and good they feel in regards to their visit here. Why? Because they’ll be back. They’ll remember all the good people associated with our store, all the killer product, how they were treated while they were here, and ultimately buy tons of stuff. Long-term goals, not short term band-aids.”

Surfside

The killer product Edukas refers to is the wide variety of surf, skate, and snow brands that the shop carries. Surfside also prides itself on having one of the largest single-store snowboard departments in SoCal. A full service repair department in the snow section as well as a large skate and surf selection brings in everyone from core surfers, snowboarders, and skaters, to moms and fashionistas. Edukas says the demographics of Surfside customers include men, women, and children, starting at age two all the way up to 70 years old. He says they serve mostly the local community besides their active web sales.

To keep local customers happy and coming back, Edukas says it is important to “treat people like you’d want to be treated, I think it is super important to imagine yourself as the customer. All customers are different, and one has to conduct themselves a little differently in different situations while still staying true to your personal and business ethics.”

Much of Surfside’s success has been a result of the mutual respect for opinions and strengths shared between Edukas and co-owner Burnett. “The key to a successful business is the people you work with, not against,” says Edukas. “We put everything on the table, everyday.  We work hand in hand, sometimes sacrificing personal gains for the sake of Surfside and the people who work here.  We have the same agenda, and the same vision.  Our wives and family are super supportive in all the endeavors we undertake.”

Surfside owners Duke and Paul.

Surfside owners Duke Edukas and Paul.

Continuing on that note, Duke says, “Having a partner and a crew here at Surfside that are at the very least as good as myself helps out a ton.  The vendors are our partners, not our adversaries.  Our customers are our family and friends.  Interacting with them is the most rewarding part of my job.  Fulfilling a customer’s needs, solving their problems, and treating them like family is definitely a highlight.  Working hand in hand with Vendors in a mutual benefiting manner is another one.  Just meeting and getting to know vendors and customers in a more personal manner is a key part of my mission in life.”

(SEE ALL 30 SHOPS ON OUR CALENDAR PAGE)

Check out a virtual tour of Surfside: