Last month Juston Tucker, Tim Gavin, and Jim Leatherman teamed up to open Port Long Beach, a new skate/surf-inspired apparel boutique in, you guessed it, Long Beach, California. We caught up with the trio via email, who have all worked with each other for years at Podium Distribution, to learn more about the shop, and differentiating yourself in a tough retail land.
Tell us a little about the team behind Port and why you decided to open the shop?
The three of us that started Port have all been working together at Podium for a combined 30 years. We all feel that we have a great creative outlook for marketing and design and we could channel that into a retail location and brand. We chose Long Beach because we see the opportunity for a shop like us—as well [as], the city of Long Beach is rad town.
When it comes to retail, it’s all about location, tell us about why your spot in Long Beach is a good fit for what you’re doing?
Long Beach is one of the most diverse cities in the country and we felt a store like ours would fit right in place with the culture. The city has has a tight knit community of art, fashion, and young people; so there is a lot of potential for growth with a store and brand like Port.
Talk a little about the boutique model you’re going for – who is your target customer?
We all grew up in the surf and skate lifestyle and keep that at our roots. The store is a grown up version of that kid, however we still party like its spring break 2001.
It looks like you guys are carrying mostly smaller brands – if you had to give a unifying theme on the brands you’re carrying what would it be?
It’s fun to be able to pick and choose the brands that you affiliate with the most. The brands that we have selected to carry reflect the styles that we are into at this stage in our life. Each of the brands stand for something different but still have a underlining consistency to them
How big is the store and what are you doing to market the opening and the shop in the community?
We have 1300 square feet of fun and can pack in about 150 hammered people. To get the community interest we have been doing art and photo shows along with brand launch parties and more things to come.
How are you handling your online sales? Is it out of separate inventory or basically a web version of the brick and mortar?
We are solely selling Port product and collabs on the site for now.
What have been the biggest lessons of opening your first retail door?
Working with the city is not always easy and we try to remember to pay our taxes as well. We will lets you know in about a year from now…