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Seeing any ski shops close. SkiMarket

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

Not sure if all SkiMarkets are closing but the one here in Albany is gone.  I guess it's not surprising, but it's not good to loose local ski shops.  I never found much for me at SkiMarket.  Maybe the other local shops will do better.  Internet sales must be hurting them all.

 

What's going on in your area?

post #2 of 12

 

 

I never bought much there either

post #3 of 12

Ski and snowboard dealers around here:

 

Alpine Ski Center has a store in Raleigh and another closer to the slopes in Boone.  There is also Endless Season, Action Ski and Outdoors, Vertical Urge, and of course Dicks Sporting Goods. 

 

Unfortunately, I rarely purchase anything from them.  They are all a bit out of my way.  I purchase everything I can on line so I don't have to spend time traveling to get it.  I can usually figure out what I want, and I mount my own bindings and fit my own boots (have exacto knife and heat gun, will stretch plastic).  However, most folks out this way that aren't transplants from ski towns probably provide some amount of business to these shops.  Then again, they may not.  Alpine Ski Center seems to be the only one that has been around  for several years.  Every spring/summer I see ads on Craigslist for local Ski and Snowboard shops having going out of business sales.  But, it seems someone opens a new shop every year also.  If I were to lose my job I'd probably go apply at one to bring in grocery money while looking for a better paying position.

post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 

But the big issue with SkiMarket is that it's gone.  How many will follow during the next year?  What will happen to the sport without stores to walk into and buy equipment.

 

Looking at the access road at Killington, most of the shops there are showing signs of distress.

 

There have been changes in retail ski shops for quite a while now, but it looks like internet sales and stores like the Sports Authority are taking enough business away from real ski shops to put them on there knees.  Add to that the economy.

 

One thing about SkiMarket in our area, they were the Walmart of ski shops.  They didn't carry serious equipment.  Now maybe the smaller shops can gain some momentum and broaden their base.

post #5 of 12

In my area we use to have many ski shops that then turned into ski and snowboard shops or went out of business. Now we have basically one ski shop(and they sell snowboard stuff) and then we have about three or four stores that sell nothing but snowboard equipment. Our local shop is Outdoor Outlet which many on here know as O2 gear shop on the net (think that is what they go by on the net). Seems like that really helps them having a strong web base business to go with there store business.

 

I'll be the first to admit that I support my local shops when I can but on some things the price is so drastic that I do the internet thing.

post #6 of 12

I'm really confused.

 

Our resorts have just opened their season and sell day tickets at $95 for adults, $77 for university students and $68 for kids aged 5 to 18. Yet the slopes are still wall-to-wall snowboarders - all in the latest 'non-conformist uniform' of gangsta rapper gear. Shops claim they're busy, and some closed down branch shops to consolidate. Aldi, a European discount supermarket that's now here, is selling rubbish like hot cakes (whatever a hot cake is). Army Disposals is advertising their cheap ski clothes, and its pretty obvious whose in non waterproof clothes when it rains. (We're tough and ski in any weather)

 

Most of my colleaugues buy over the internet from US web sites but that's dried up - I found that, even when our dollar was worth 40% less than yours, everyrthing in the US 'on sale' (including demo gear and used skiis) were more than we pay in shops here. I ended up grabbing, just before Heavenly closed, bargains at Heavenly Sports, eg $US99 Technica boots of the same variety that Anna Segal had in the Winter X Games.

 

The world's gone insane.

post #7 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

 

 

Looking at the access road at Killington, most of the shops there are showing signs of distress.

 


Not really.  For Q4 and Q1, retail sales at Killington, which includes both day ticket sales and ski shop sales, was only down 10%.   $39.6 million to $35.9 million.  Everybody bought conservatively and paid attention to their costs.  They managed to dump most of their inventory in their March/April spring sales.   Everybody I've talked to said they were off some but it wasn't a disaster.  Restaurants and lodging got hit a lot harder.  Meals were down 20% this year.  (From $12.5 to $10.2 million)  Lodging was down 25% this year.  (From $22.4 to $16.8 million)  Alcohol sales were up 2%.  Go figure.

 

The numbers are online and you can look for yourself:

http://www.state.vt.us/tax/statistics.shtml

 

The Killington Access Road always shows "signs of distress".   Some businesses keep their property in good shape. Others don't.   Some attract all the traffic.  Others exist on the overflow business. 

 

The main ski shops in town aren't going anywhere.   They mostly rely on the season pass base for their business and they mostly sell high end gear.  It's more steady than in a flatland strip mall where occasional skiers can defer purchases in a soft economy.

post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 

Although I see 10% as a lot, it could have been much worse.  And getting rid of inventory is critical, especially after a weak season.  I saw some pretty amazing prices at some of the shops.  The key though is that they can weather the storm and did.

 

As far as the loss of SkiMarket, now the other local shops will get a chance to be more profitable.  We have some well qualified smaller shops in the area.  I think some took a beating.  If they can grab even a small portion of SkiMarket's business that would make a huge difference.  But how do you do that?  I would really like to have a quality, well stocked shop right here like we used to have.  Right now they must be cautious and not over stock.

post #9 of 12

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Jones View Post

Although I see 10% as a lot, it could have been much worse.  And getting rid of inventory is critical, especially after a weak season.  I saw some pretty amazing prices at some of the shops.  The key though is that they can weather the storm and did.

 

As far as the loss of SkiMarket, now the other local shops will get a chance to be more profitable.  We have some well qualified smaller shops in the area.  I think some took a beating.  If they can grab even a small portion of SkiMarket's business that would make a huge difference.  But how do you do that?  I would really like to have a quality, well stocked shop right here like we used to have.  Right now they must be cautious and not over stock.



 

I think the internet will be the death of most small flatland shops.  If you can't achieve critical mass to keep a good boot fitter on your payroll, you just don't have any kind of value proposition.  That was always the failing of the big chains like SkiMarket where their boot people in many stores had little or no training.  You have to do a heck of a lot to get traffic into your building.  Day trip bus tours.  Ski tunes as a loss leader.  You want people to buy your high margin clothing and accessories instead of dropping on the internet to find them steeply discounted.  It's a tough way to earn a living if the shop isn't located near skiing where you're ensured a steady flow of traffic and people are buying accessories now because they can't wait for an internet purchase to show up.

post #10 of 12

Here in SoFLA, it is hard to get a feel for the industry, really! Here in the Palm Beach County area we have two Peter Glenn ski & snowboard shops, both well place for high visibility.

I was in talking with Peder in the Juno Beach shop, I'm having some Mojos mounted up, and he says that while biz was off just a bit, that they don't see much change looking ahead to '09/'10. They are always slow in the summer, except for their South America travelers.

We did have a little seasonal ski & snowboard shop not reopen last season, the old fella may just not have lived thru the summer for all I know. I always hit him up for deep discounts every year before my april trips to Vail, goggles and such, but never any hard gear.

I know when I was out closing Vail this past season that the restaurants were offering 50% off entrees and 25% off wine, so we ate out alot.

I know I am buying skis online almost exclusively these days, at least the last three pairs. L9 makes it easy as well with free mounting. I guess boots will be next, unless Peter Glenn wants to cut some deals. I guess you can always do boots if you don't like the price at a local dealer, but like the fit. Really not my style though.

I did use to buy end of season demos in Vaill for my wife. She would ski various boards at say Amerciacn Ski Company and decide what she liked or didn't like. If they were in real fine condition BLAM!!!

The ski shop business model is going thru some major 'growing' pains right now, I would think you would almost have to either be mountain based, or internet based, or retail and internet based.

post #11 of 12

I've actually never quite understand the "flatland ski shops". Personally, I rarely go there for skis. And I only buy any "big ticket" clothing (jackets/pants) when they're deeply discounted, knowing full well I can get the same online for a lot less than full retail. 

 

I can see the value of a good boot fitter in such a shop. But the reality being most of such flatland shops don't employ good boot fitters. (looking at it from the other side, if I were a ski bum turn boot fitter, I would prefer to work in resort so I can go skiing on my day off!)

 

For the most part, my ski-related purchases are done either at the resort (boots) or online (ski/clothing).

 

But then, I'm probably not the kind of customer ski shops are after. I don't change skis every year, nor even every OTHER year. And I'm still wearing the jacket I bought over 10 years ago! 

post #12 of 12
I sometimes go into the local ski shop to buy a hat or a pair of gloves but I haven't bought a pair of skis or boots from them for years. I'm reluctant to allow them to touch my skis because I know that while they may employ some competent people I know that most of their staff are seasonal and likely inexperienced. There are certain specialty shops I know of, especially race oriented shops like Race Stocks Sports over in Waterbury and Graham Lonetto up in Stowe that are excellent. Shops which have real expertise and specialized skills like experienced boot fitting will do well in the internet age but those which simply put their goods out there without any added value or expertise will decline I think.
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