Editors Note: In our Winter Issue, TransWorld Business takes a closer look at skateboard legend Mike McGill’s North County, San Diego retail space, a staple in the community for more than 20 years. To read the full story, pick up a copy of TransWorld Business magazine.
For skaters living in North County San Diego, one shop stands out as the place to go when replacing a snapped deck or flat wheels: McGill’s Skateshop in Encinitas. McGill’s has been in business for more than 20 years, catering to skaters in the region with a vast supply of gear ranging from hardgoods to apparel, and over the past two decades, the store has become a household name for area skaters with shop stickers plastered on helmets and boards around town and local parks sporting McGill’s banners, just as its owner became a household name amongst skaters around the globe.
While some retailers tap into marketing dollars and ad campaigns to get their name out there, McGill’s had a head start in capitalizing on owner, skate legend and Bones Brigade member, Mike McGill’s name. However, the shop’s lasting success is the result of hard work and an insider’s skate mentality and knowledge, not to mention a heritage that few shops can boast.
Staying successful in the skate business for more than two decades, it’s clear that McGill, whose résumé includes inventing the McTwist, is doing something right. When asked the secret of his success, he stresses the importance of giving back to the local skate community. “It certainly helps that I’ve been a skateboarder for as long as I have, and my community knows who I am. I started the program at the YMCA in Encinitas 20-something years ago by doing little contests, putting all the money in a pot, bringing it to the YMCA and saying, ‘Look, let’s build something for these kids to use.’ And I think those parents and those kids appreciate what I did back then.”
McGill has personally led the charge in getting skateparks built in San Diego for many years, and his message is clear: Help build the skate community, and they will support your shop. Creating this kind of symbiotic relationship between your shop and your community is no easy task though; it takes real dedication.
“You gotta do something—try all different avenues,” McGill says. “Even if there is already a skatepark in your area, you can definitely help out by expanding it.” And while the end result will be a grateful skate community that supports your shop, it’s initially up to the shop owner to kick start this relationship. “It’s important for any shop owner to help out with that, not just stand around and sell equipment. It’s up to them to keep local contests going and do local events with whatever is going on in your city. I mean it’s very important, otherwise you’re not going to have the sales that you need to keep your doors open,” he says.
Follow the jump to watch the full-length interview with McGill.