September 6-8, 2013
Orange County Convention Center
Board Demo Day: September 5
There are not a lot of retail shops that opened successfully in 2010. Then again, there aren't a lot of shops in Dickinson, North Dakota that cater to eighteen- to 30-year-old men and women.
By Shelby Stanger
Loacted In Dickinson, North Dakota
“We’re very new,” says co-owner Lenny Johnson who opened the store with his older brother, Jeff Hafner, in March of 2010.
“It was one of those things where I dig clothing, my brother digs skateboarding, there’s nothing like it in town and everyone wanted something like this.”
The shop took over a Footlocker location in Prairie Hills Mall in Dickinson, which is about 100 miles west of the capital city of Bismark.
The store has about 2,500 square feet of retail space, with another 1,000 square feet for storage in the back. The colors are poppy: blue carpet, lime green and red walls. Music blares throughout the day, and a mix of customers―most coming from the oil-rigging town of Wilson―percolate throughout the shop.
“We’re almost like the Buckle, PacSun and Zumiez all mashed into one, but we have a different assortment,” says Lenny.
The shop carries skate hardgoods from Skate One, but they also have brands like Under Armour, Rogue Status, Hurley, Creatures, Billabong, DC, Nike 6.0, Oakley, Fox and higher end denim brands like Big Star, Miss Me and Rock Revival.
Oakley, Fox and Under Armour are probably the shop's biggest brands. Lenny said they have a small Fox concept store inside their shop, and that they also have the largest display of Oakleys in the whole state. About 35 percent of their business is women’s; the rest caters to guys.
“I feel like out store is a good mix,” says Lenny, who says while most people go for the brands, they stay for the service.
“Customer service is our strong suit. Everyone gets some sort of a hello when they walk in, and even though we carry skate product, it’s less intimidating than a lot of core skate shops.”
Opening a shop in North Dakota may have seemed crazy to some, especially since Dickinson isn’t known for having an excess of activity, but the town is starting to boom.
A few miles away, oil mining is at an all-time high, and four months ago the town built a $250,000 skateboard park attached to a community center.
“It was pretty perfect timing for us,” says Lenny. “We’re not like the rest of the country right now that’s for sure.”
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