The Retailer Advisory Committee (RAC) organized by SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the snow sports industry’s member-owned trade association, met in April in Denver, CO. to discuss how retailers can better utilize SIA’s grassroots programs and resources and how SIA can improve what it provides to retailers.
The Retailer Advisory Committee meets regularly to advise, guide and direct SIA with initiatives for moving product and growing snow sports participation through specialty retail. The committee of retailers provides direction on how to improve programs and expand product distribution and usage. Raul Pinto of Satellite Boardshop in Boulder, Colo., Phil Leeds of Skinny Skis in Jackson, W.Y., Tracey Gibbons of Sturtevant’s in Bellevue, Wash., Greg Klein of Willi’s Ski Shop in Pittsburgh/Seven Springs, Penn., Bob Olsen of Viking Ski Shop in Chicago, Ill., Kim Walker of Outdoor Divas in Boulder, Colo., Ira Rosch of Paragon Sports in New York City, Gary Cole of Cole Sports in Park City, Ut. Jack Kannapel of Ski Pro, Inc. in Mesa, Ariz., and Joe Rauscher of Joe’s Ski Shop in Minneapolis attended the April committee meeting.
The RAC members in attendance were apprised of the state of all of SIAs retailer and consumer programs like the Retailer to Consumer Marketing Guide, Snowlink.com and the Snow Sports Recycling Program. They were also given the opportunity to provide valuable feedback to SIA about these initiatives. Together SIA and RAC members reviewed the state of the industry in terms of hardgoods and softgoods sales, specialty shop sales, retail trends, snow sports participation, the snow sports buy/sell cycle and the industrys many segments.
There were terrific comments about how to further SIAs reach with the retail and skier/snowboarder population, said Phil Leeds, owner of Skinny Skis. I look forward to future get togethers like this when we can hone on certain programs where we can really make a difference. It will take some concentration to focus on programs that have demonstrated success.
Much of the meeting was focused on how to help retailers utilize SIAs retailer and consumer resources. “It would help out the industry if retailers were better at sharing all of the great benefits SIA has, but it is hard because retailers get pulled in so many different directions, said Kim Walker, owner of Outdoor Divas.
There was a general consensus that as the industry changes, SIA retail programs need to be evaluated annually for their effectiveness in resonating with retailers and increasing snow sports participation.
The RAC used the meeting to consider the situation of the independent shop, best practices for educating retail staff and consumers about new products and the timing of the SIA Snow Show. The meeting was an effective venue to discuss an Industry Ambassador Program whereby retailers would appoint one sales staff member per retail management to manage a shops relationship with SIA, including implementation of SIA programs like Snow Sports Recycling Program, the Learn to Ski and Snowboard Month and Bring a Friend initiatives, Winter Trails days and Ship Your Gear promotions.
A shops SIA industry ambassador would be responsible for learning about SIA programs and resources, such as the Retailer to Consumer Marketing Guide, and passing information along to other staff. With an ambassador program, youre trying to reach a select group of people that are going to influence the rest of the industry, said Raul Pinto, owner of Satellite Boardshop. Participating shops would need to be influencers to some degree.
Meeting regularly with the Retailer Advisory Committee keeps SIA in touch with what is happening on the shop floor that impacts the end consumer, participation rates and product sales, said David Ingemie, SIA president. There is a lot SIA can do to help shops respond to industry-wide trends and utilize the many tools available to them. There is also a lot that SIA can learn from working with a dedicated group of shop owners that represent various retail markets around the United States.
Other members of the RAC werent present at the April meeting include: Spike Clayton of Skirack in Burlington, Vt., Lisa Hollenbeck of Alpine Shop in St. Louis, Bill Langlands of Darkside Snowboards in Killington, Vt., Patrick OWinter of Christy Sports in Lakewood, Colo.