What’s Selling at Heritage Surf
We are hearing such good reports about business trends from core stores, we wanted to check in with important account Heritage Surf & Sport in New Jersey, a state that was hard hit in the early days of the pandemic, to see if business has rebounded there as well.
Jamie Heritage, who operates the Sea Isle City store with her husband, Brian, answered some questions for us about how things are going so far this summer.
New Jersey was such a hard hit state during the pandemic. What were those months like for you guys and for the store?
Jamie Heritage: We were super proactive ordering 1,000-plus masks from my good friend Janelle at Lotus & Luna. They were quickly added to our online shop. Along with hundreds of masks, customers also purchased clothing and footwear, which made the sales even larger, thankfully.
We have so many faithful customers that really helped by making generous purchases of gift cards and other goods as well. I used my personal social media to help increase sales, too. We’re very grateful for it all.
When did you reopen? And how has business gone since then?
Jamie Heritage: We were allowed to offer curbside for a while, then our mayor and governor coordinated the reopening with limits starting in mid-June.
Business has been unreal. Customers have been waiting in long, hot lines to get into the shop. They have all been very cooperative.
Any interesting trends as far as what is selling in the store?
Jamie Heritage: Biggest trends I’ve noticed:
- Shorts. I literally couldn’t get them in fast enough. Some brands are better than others with shipping, so I have been placing reorders non-stop.
- We are selling tons of accessories.
- Our private label is selling out quickly.
Are people spending more than usual – is the average transaction higher? If so, what do you attribute that to?
Jamie Heritage: Customers are spending $$$. Whether it’s from being cooped up in lockdowns, the ability to touch and feel product, or unemployment funds burning a hole in their pockets, we’ve heard it all.
With curbside, it was hard. People typically only bought one or two items. Now that we are fully open, they are purchasing everything with no second thoughts. (Hopefully I didn’t just jinx it).
Do you have the inventory you need?
Jamie Heritage: We absolutely do not have the inventory we need. Sadly, some companies and sales managers have it together better than others. Most have reached out expressing their remorse and doing everything they can to facilitate sales, while others aren’t.
I even reached out to buy samples from some local sales reps. Saying we are desperate for product is an understatement.
What has been the biggest surprise during this whole crisis – both positive and negative?
Jamie Heritage: Positive is that the local customer base has been willing to help us with their purchases.
On the negative side, it’s been inventory and shipping issues.
Is back to school an important season for you? How do you see that unfolding for your store?
Jamie Heritage: Back to school is very important for us. Footwear and backpacks are the biggest items during this season. Hopefully, we can still maintain great sales.
How are you planning the rest of the year? Are you optimistic, still cautious, or something in between?
Jamie Heritage: For 2021, I am optimistic yet still cautious. I’ll buy homeruns and basics and decide what brands are important enough and evaluate if they were there for us when we needed them.
I plan on supporting the brands that supported us, including Lotus & Luna, Rainbow, O’Neill, Rip Curl and Sun Bum to name a few.
If you could pick one single item that you wish you had more of right now, what would that be?
Jamie Heritage: Billabong elastic shorts.