13 years ago, TODAY! I had just resigned from a great l o n g run of being a sales representative for O’Neill and CI surfboards to purchase a little surf shop on Laskin Road! It was going to be a amazing new chapter for myself and my family, and I went into it with amazing conviction to keep this little surf shop special and the soul of surfing alive !!!
You see, Freedom Surf had been opened for almost two years prior. And I have to tell you, from a surfers perspective ~ walking through those saloon doors in 2005 was like evolving your caffeine from 7-11 coffee to Starbucks, all within a blink of any eye! Freedom Surf changed the landscape. Hands down!!! It was Miles Davis, at a time when music kind of sucked. The boards, the vibe, & the people were all radiating to a different beat! AMAZING.
So… being a coffee and jazz connoisseur (okay, just a appreciation for both), I took on a very bold task to transition myself as a RETAILER! Well, let me tell you the first few things that happened in those early years…
#1. All of the other surf shops freaked out and took shots at me and/or tried to ban us from carrying some of the larger brands. #volcom, # quiksilver (thank you BRAD!), # the list goes on. Not sure why, as I surely had quite the learning curve. AND, I thought we were friends.
#2. The iPhone came out! Yep. The iPhone came out in 2007 and changed the course of retail forever.
#3. Surfboard shapes were changing and we were able to influence this movement! Let me expand on that for a second. Freedom Surf brought logging to Va. Beach! Sure we could go back to Mike, Jeff, Ryan and Kevin at Corner 24 and then the influence that Hotline offered up with their team (Andrew, Trevor etc. pushing Gurney . But hands down! Freedom brought the logs to Va. Beach!!! Freedom also brought fish, eggs, bonzers, quads and simmons to the market while most were still chasing the shortboards and silly other shapes. All from the best of the best in the world! #milesdavis .
#4. We learned A LOT of lessons!!! Retail is not easy my friends. It’s like running five businesses at once and doing so on a shoestring budget under a microscope.UGH!!! In the last 13 years, we have been beat, kicked etc. etc. But! We also, have been embraced by the community!!! There have been so many nights that I drive home in awe of the magic that we created!!!
So! Welcome Summer!!! Welcome all of the little mom and pop surf shops that still drip and bleed salt water! Welcome lessons learned! And most of all… WELCOME YOU! As you are the reason why I keep unlocking the front door daily.
Our little surf shop on Laskin Road is ALIVE and WELL! Come see us. Tell a friend. Better yet, bring a friend and I’m sure you’ll see a few more in the store.
Happy Memorial Day & thank you for 13 years! And more so for those that have served our country. We appreciate you!!!