How Does A Shop Owner Handle The “Homie Discount”, An Interview With Seasons Skateshop Owner, Trevor Culley.

 

Skateshops are a dying breed.  Now, I’m not talking about the ones at the mall, or even the one in your town that sells Revive decks.  I mean, a real skateshop.  One that the owner actually knows whats going on, can tell you what song Daniel Castillo skated to in Love Child, has heard of brands such as Scumco, Northern Company, The Vacation, WKND,and The Vegan Floor, and even has them on the wall without being asked by a customer.  Real skateshops that care what product they put on their walls, and help the younger kids understand there is more than what they see on Instagram every day.  A shop owner who can tell you what each brand represents, and where your hard earned money is going. 

Luckily, has grown so much, we have people wanting to contribute articles.  I’m always down to take a break and attempt to correct spelling errors that are not mine.  Thank you “Shawn Pen” as he would like to be known as, for this incredible interview with an incredible shop owner.  C.B. you blew it, maybe next time.

seesybs

SMDM: I’ve seen a lot of people come into your shop looking to wheel and deal. Some come up, and others get shut down; both usually end up walking away with a purchase. How do you deal with skaters coming into your small business looking for the “homie discount” and how do you keep it so damn smooth?

TREV: Oh man. Lots of aspects I guess. Usually people asking for a discount are strangers, and usually aren’t skaters. So guess it’s like a, “you help me, I help you” kind of thing. If they are talking about something that’s older or kind of stale, sure dude. I’ll just wing it; everybody’s happy. If it’s a skater—I get it— you don’t always have 50 or 100 or whatever bucks just ready to blow so, I’ll always find you something. People looking for an honest hookup for stuff skate def get more of an effort on my end. “Function versus Fashion” kind of thing. That’s why we’re here.

SMDM: Are skaters appreciative when they see you looking out for them? Friends included–Do people ever abuse the system? (“Hold it till this Friday please YO”, credit tabs, etc.)

TREV: You know, CB and I both work elsewhere to make money so we can be a little more loose around here with that, plusthe place is tiny. We order a lot of stuff to fit in here. We always have to make space, always. Most people are super appreciative. We have a big crew here and everyone knows we are all in it together so it’s not like that. Like a family feeling rather than a biz feeling. And nah, nobody abuses it really. If they did it would be my fault not theirs. Sometimes it gets funny though, haha

SMDM: In this time of consciously supporting local shops/businesses, independent brands, etc. do you ever have people refuse to take a “homie discount”?

TREV: Yeah. People pass through town and want to buy a shop tee or something because they get it. And I get that, I’ve done it myself. And depending on the circumstances, of course sometimes I’ll be like, “it’s cool, just take it.” Rock it, you know? That’s payment enough. I’m not trying to disrespect anyone that’s got their mind set on paying for stuff though. It’s like when someone sneak attacks and buys dinner or something. There’s a fine line of being like, “Oh come on! No way!” and then being disrespectful. Sometimes you just got to go with it and say thank you, and mean it.

SMDM: It’s definitely a respect thing. Someone buys you a beer, you drink it and hope you get roofied just to be polite–Seasons doesn’t have a skate team in a traditional roster sense; it’s a full on family. Who ‘rides’ for you and how do you decide who does or does not.

TREV: Oh, the team thing? Shit I dunno. It stems from being in a small city and being the only shop. I feel like teams are for bigger cities kind of. It’s more unwritten by default here. So many friends, no cliques, everyone rips. I guess you would call the team those who know the day to day operation and are around for all of it. I couldn’t be more thankful that everyone here just reps and is a part of the whole thing. There are always the dudes with full parts in our video projects. That’s the team if I had to say.

SMDM: You had an intro part for Fred Gall, right? To this day I still hear people saying, “Doesn’t Fred Gall ride for Seasons?’ And I have to be like, “Um, yeah. I guess so.” They don’t get it.

TREV: I don’t get that either. But it was a sick edit and I’m gunna dig it up on YouTube later.

That was just Steve and Andrew and Fred being friends and visiting a bunch back in the day. I guess Origin came out and didn’t use a bunch of sick stuff from Steve and Fred so it got split up- Steve for Orchard and Fred for Seasons! I remember Fred telling me he rides for like 5 shops and i was like, “Yeah, exactly. That’s how it should be.” HA

Just keep it fun—

“Yeah. I didn’t click any though. I’ll probably put them on the “team” if I watch it.”

SMDM: Do kids still send in sponsor me tapes to you guys? Do they hit you on the DM?

TREV: You know what, not really…let me look hang on I’m bad at DM—Wow. I’m a huge asshole. There are tons of message requests for all kinds of stuff.

SMDM: Hahaha. Any SponsorMonsters in there?

TREV: Yeah. I didn’t click any though. I’ll probably put them on the “team” if I watch it.

SMDM: Spread the love! …I’d say there’s been times where 75% of your board wall has been independent board companies. How do you choose what kind of brands you carry, how do you maintain their support, and do you ever have kids asking for the curveball boards like Darkstar, Birdhouse, Mystery, …

TREV: Honestly, no. Don’t really have to choose anything. Just have what we should have really. It’s a lot of board companies, so it gets tricky just keeping the rotation flowing and trying to keep up with everyone’s awesome shit.

SMDM: Speaking of awesome shit, you were one of FA’s first 15 accounts they opened up something like that. Shit, Dill even shouted you out in his Playboy interview. Would you say there’s a level of trust between you, your customers and the brands you carry? (i.e. customers trust your judgement to bring in cool shit that you want to support and therefore they want to support)

TREV: Never thought of it like that–I don’t really think of the word customers much I guess.Everyone we work with is because it makes sense. Not for sales; if we were into sales we’d sell weed I guess. I might be wrong, but I don’t think weed has the homie hookup the way skate shops sometimes do. Maybe pot sellers don’t love the fact that the people buying their weed love smoking weed enough. Or maybe they do?  What do I know?

SMDM: What are your thoughts on the state of sponsorship in today’s day and age of skateboarding with its high accessibility, open internet platform, and focus on the newest, hot, young, “here and now” thing”?

TREV: Hmm. I think it’s cool. It’s nothing like being sponsored back in the day- back then it was like a huge deal because skateboarding was small. The word sponsored is sort of old school I think maybe. It’s too vague for the way things are today. You could be sponsored and have it be somewhat more of a burden than a privilege in certain situations. That’s probably how it’s always been. But you get it– skateboarding is huge. Sponsored isn’t a word anymore. Free shit is always gonna be a plus for anyone, I’m not knocking that…It probably depends on what else is going on in your life. Like if being sponsored is your main thing it’s gotta be sick.  And working with friends is always cool.

SMDM: Where do you see the disconnect between skating for self-enjoyment, experience, history and culture blah blah with this new wave of young, novice SponsorMonsters expecting to get free product?

TREV: Kids being kids really–Just more ways to get it out there now–Directly talking to the source–No tapes, no mail, no waiting, no remorse, no shame. I don’t see a lot of it here really to be honest. It seems healthy here for the most part.

SMDM: How you go about getting homies hooked up with brands?

TREV: I pretty much drop the ball on that. It’s so much a level field of people I work with and people I hang out/skate with I kinda forget to be middle man a lot of the time. I do what I can, but I could do more. Be more annoying about how everyone I’m friends with are good skaters.

SMDM: Your dudes don’t lose any hype because of that! Everyone’s still as dedicated to the scene.

TREV: Yeah everyone just works hard and skates for fun really. It’s pretty level.

SMDM: Seasons has hosted a pretty solid online store for years now. What was the idea for starting the webstore only a few years into the shops existence?

TREV: Mainly just so nobody would have to settle for going to the mall. I can see being young or not having a car or whatever would make things tough to come here every time you need something. We do free shipping on shoes and stuff. Whatevs, who cares. Nobody should have to go to the mall for a skateboard; that’s silly. Our website is beat and the online store is pretty simple and unprofessional haha. But gets the job done for now.

SMDM: I wouldn’t say it’s unprofessional–All those product images are shot by you and are super clean; you have a mini studio in the back. You also shoot a lot of the team photos/ ads.Instagram is always updated with new gear/homie edits as well. With a general rise in internet buying, where do you see the longevity of brick and mortar stores?

TREV: I think shops will always be important and relevant. Kinda like bars. Assuming you can buy beer online. Won’t stop people from going to bars though. That may be a stretch but in the same idea I guess.

SMDM: What about the mall stores in your area and other shops?

TREV: I just think skate shops will always be a part of the real world of skateboarding. If skating becomes uncool again to the fakers, the mall shops will pack it up, but the skate shops will probably not even notice. Things stay more level and not up and down in the world of actual skateboarding. That’s not going anywhere.

“I just think skate shops will always be a part of the real world of skateboarding”

SMDM: Seasons does a pretty large and consistent drop of shop gear that often collaborates with local artists, friends, and utilizes local iconography. Does Seasons’ gear get a lot of attention from the Albany community outside of skaters?

seasons-hood

TREV: I don’t know if the shop gets a lot of attention from the community or not. Albany is a little different than most places I’ve been in the sense that there isn’t a ton of things handed to you- it’s a place you kinda need to get busy and have something to focus on or run the risk of being bored and resenting living here.  I think if anything, maybe the community outside of skating notices that we are just doing what we do and hopefully at least respects that?  Instead of just moving somewhere else?

SMDM: What do you think about city pride?

TREV: City pride is huge! We make a lot of Albany shop gear mainly because there aren’t too many places to get Albany gear outside of the colleges or something like that. That always bummed me out so now we just put Albany on stuff instead of seasons a lot of times. Sometimes both but right now we have crewnecks and hats that say straight up Albany New York on them haha. Fuck it why not. Miss the shit out of the River Rats too.. they were super Albany.

SMDM:Within skateboarding, the city seems to have an appreciation for generations past: Blake Hannan rode for Santacruz in the 80’s, Kenny Reed has some ties to East Greenbush, Curtis Rapp was a Slap One in a Million winner; The legend of John Marshall is going to puzzle anthropologists for years to come. With the attention the cities been getting for a skatepark, DC and Supreme trips, Canadians jumping the border, where do you see the future generation of Albany skaters?

TREV: Where do I see them? Like where are they gonna be skating? Friggin med ledge duh.

SMDM: Nah, like like as far as coming up and “living the dream”. Do kids in Albany even care about “making it” anymore?

TREV: There are groups of young kids out there skating real hard. Filming, stopping by all the time– just awesome skate rat kids. Ripping too. I don’t think any of those kids around here are DMing tons of companies blindly asking if they want to #sponsor them or anything. If they are I hope they all get on Northern Co.

P.S.

 

TREV: So funny; just sitting here 45 minutes after the shop closes. This dude I know from just coming in, not from skateboarding, has his 2 mad young kids with him, knocks and is like, “Can i grab something”? Of course. Let him in and he got 100 dollar jacket-half price- AND a free shop beanie. Fuck it, he’s cool and somewhat loyal to the shop. Or something. I was sick of looking at that jacket anyway. Again, everyone wins. All good.

 

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