Shop Name: ABS
Location: Annecy, France
ABS is comprised of two stores, one servicing the core skate market and ABS Plus which focusses on streetwear. They really stay in tune with their local skate scene and are always looking for small skate brands that are pushing skateboarding in a good way.
How long have you been trading for and what was the reason for starting up ABS?
I started in 2001 and didn’t really wanted to open a shop. I had others views like environmental stuff, but the city really needed a real skater owned skateshop. So some friends asked me if i wanted to open a skateshop and I was like why not, it is a child dream. I have always been skateboarding since I was 14 and I was 30 by this time and thought it would be a great experience to be in the business instead of trying to get some free stuff from sponsors!
How is the local market in France these days?
In the Annecy skateboarding is OK. We are doing a lot of things, competitions, sponsoring, a lot of little skateboard games etc… and we still skate twice a week. You know when you are a skater and you really love it, you know what do to keep skateboarding in your life. In France the business is not good everywhere, it depends if there is a good local skateshop or if a brand is pushing the business. We live in a rich city, close to the Swiss where the wages are much higher than the average in Europe, that helps I reckon.
What do you think are the benefits of having a physical shop over an online store?
A physical shop is awesome, I love to talk and meet real skaters. A website used to have an international showcase and have the recognition of consumers. It serves only as a showcase unless you are Supreme or CCS. I think for little shops online stores don’t really have many benefits. You spend too much time on it and maybe one day it is going to be easier to manage websites.
Anyway if you look at Supreme, I think they have now day 60% of their business online, but they will never quit the physical store, it too important. Kids are so stoked to come in real skateshops, ask questions about everything and meet the sponsored guys.
What trends do you see up and coming in the future?
I think like Pontus Alv says, in the future there will just be smaller skater owned brands. I love this idea!
What do you do differently to stay ahead of the competition?
We really stay tuned with Facebook and instagram etc. We are looking at what the skaters and business is doing, but it goes so quick!! We are just trying to do our best to keep the good spirit of skateboarding.
Because I have so many things to do, Mathieu is really close to the customers and has a good point of view of the real skateboard business. But every day we talk with the skaters and see what they want.
What would your advice be to someone about to start a shop in 2014?
Be ready, it is going to be hard! Focus on your business and never quit skateboarding. Be careful when you buy goods, listen to your heart and open your ears. Don’t sell longboards, scooters and shit like that!
What do you do to pull people in your store?
I try to be friendly and pleasant, people see that and come to the store because customers prefer people that smile. I don’t really consider a skateshop a business, it is more than that, it is so social with a little bit of business!
Please tell us of any upcoming events your shop has planned?
French championships, Vans concrete weekend, Off The Grid in the city (like the Berrics), a report about Annecy and its spots and skaters, a photo exhibition and we also have to prepare the shop wear collection.
What is the outlook for the rest of 2014?
We have to buy less and less. I think we can’t compete with the big stores that buy millions and have big discounts. We are fed up doing the showcase for the bigs shops and getting nothing back. We have to look for small skateboards brands and be sure that they are pushing skateboarding in a good way (such as Quiet Life, Rip and Dip, Polar, Palace and Helas.)