In days gone by, snowboard shops tended to have a ‘Dante and Randall’ vibe to them, but now they’re packed with knowledgeable, enthusiastic riders that take pride in their shop and the services it provides. In this new feature, we’ll aim to find out what makes them tick – first up is Rich Jonas who, alongside running his own sales agency, Square Melon Inc, mans The Board Basement in Exeter:
This article first appeared in Whitelines issue 115.
How long have you worked at The Board Basement?
Just over a year. I used to do marketing for a couple of brands so met Luke and Stu, the shop’s owners, through that. My wife’s from down here so when I moved I asked them if they were looking for any help, and they took me straight on.
Is there much of a snowboard scene in Exeter?
Yeah, there’s a dry slope here; we’re heavily involved with the local university snowsports club, and they go up there a lot. We put on a few nights for the uni guys – they all come down and we have a party in our warehouse. They’ll get discounts and free Jagermeister, that kind of thing. Plymouth dry slope is only 40 mins down the road too.
Do you have a shop team made up of local riders?
The guys always supported me before I started working here, but we don’t have a team as such. It’s something we want to do but with moving premises and setting up the new website, it’s been a bit of an afterthought! We want to go ahead with it soon though.
What makes your shop different?
The Board Basement is a big warehouse full of snowboard goodies. We do have a shop front, but we take customers into the warehouse and show them everything we’ve got, and people really like that. They see that we’re honest about what we’ve got, and don’t try to sell them the most expensive thing. When they get the full tour, and see that we’re selling things that suit them, they really appreciate it.
How much of your business is online?
Probably about 90%. We’ve got a dedicated team that deals with web orders. We recently got a new website, and that’s going quite well. From the end of September through to March, it’s pretty manic. We ship all over the world, with quite a lot going to Australia.
Why should people consider shopping at a brick & mortar shop?
Humans are tactile; they like to see and touch things themselves. You can take as many photos of a product as you want but you can’t do it justice. Everything feels a little different, so going into a shop gives you a much better idea of what you’re buying.
What’s the one piece of advice you always give to beginners?
We get a lot of people who can’t afford a full setup but just want to get a board. We usually talk them into buying boots first. Boots are the most important bit of kit; if you don’t get them right, you’re going to have a terrible day.
What’s the best part of the job?
We’re all friends, and it’s a great atmosphere. I know it sounds a bit cheesy and clichéd, but I enjoy going to work because we all have such a good laugh down here.
What gear are you excited about this year, and why?
The new Union Forged Carbon bindings are quite interesting, we’re pretty excited about those. I ride for Gnu, so I’d also have to say the Gnu Rider’s Choice board as well!