Minoia Store in Brescia, Italy has had its finger on the boardsports pulse since back in the late 70’s. Marco’s father Luigi started the store back in 1977, and Marco started working with him as an 18 year-old boy in 1985. Marco talks us through the shop’s history, and tells us how they’re starting from grass roots to breed a new generation of shredders.
Please give a brief history of your store including when it was started, who started it, who the owners and key players are.
The shop was established in 1977, which was when our father sold the first skateboard and Sims snurfer that came from the USA. Then in 1985 as an 18 year old boy, I started working with my father in the shop and we started selling the first snowboard products as well as surf stuff. In 1994, we created our first web site. In 1995, in addition to the store we opened our distribution of skate and snowboard gear from the USA for Italians shops. In 1998, we opened a 1000 square metres space, and in 2002 my brother introduced kite surfing and wakeboarding to the lineup. Today, we sell only boards in the shop as well as the distribution side to the business.
What makes your store different and in what ways does your store excel beyond your competition?
The passion for our sport and the vision that we always had: Stay hungry, stay foolish (jovial) – we’ve never looked to work for the immediate profit.
Did your store’s sales increase or decrease over last year?
We have increased compared to last year by investing a lot in education and promotion of our sport in schools. We did this off our own backs – we didn’t wait to be asked, we started the initiative ourselves.
How do you stay in touch with the wants and needs of your customers?
Every Sunday and Mondya we go either snowboarding, kiteboarding, wakeboarding, surfing or longboarding. My kid is into skateboarding, and this keeps my finger on the pulse of what the kids like and when I go to large tare events, I’m always curious for new trends, and listen to what the riders want.
Does your store sponsor athletes, competitions, etc? What are the benefits to the store and to the boardsports community?
We always have a big team, and support many schools and private places for all of our sports. We have always supported the scene in Northern Italy, we support riders aged 6 years and over giving indirect benefits to the store and the community. To understand what we do, visit our website.
What kind of advice can you give other independent retailers who are trying to compete against the big box megastores?
I think in Italy there’s a small chance to compete and win with the megastore for small and independent retailers. You can survive by doing a job that you love but the real fact is that in Italy we work until the end of June to be able to pay taxes and the other half of the year to pay the supplier. Actually in Italy there is no access to credit and we are in recession. To make good a business owners in Italy now, you have to be a hero!
Are new lines important to your product mix?
Yep, we mix new lines and new brands all year round