Alive & Well skate shop is a new edition to the Seattle skate scene. The shop just recently opened in February 2012, but with the city’s summer weather calling skaters to thrash on the streets the shop is raking in the cash on board sales. Although Alive & Well only carries a handful of brands, the shop has prided itself on a very loyal relationship with its featured brands including Nike SB, adidas, and Huf allowing the A&W team to have very little competition amongst surrounding skate shops.
The 1,000 square foot shop showcases their brands in a sleek, modern setting. The shop’s rustic, wooden look was planned by the A&W staff and was constructed from the wood of an old Oregon barn. The rest of the shop is reminiscent of an art gallery with white washed walls allowing the products to exist as the canvases.
We got a chance to talk to George Otto, one of the five owners of Alive & Well, in today’s 30 Shops in 30 Days.
Who are the shop owners?
George Otto, Steve Gonzales, Marcus Lalario, Dan Eyler and Zack Prucha.
Why did you decide to open your own shop?
We wanted to open a shop that could bring more to the Seattle skate scene. Skateboarding is such a big industry it’s hard for one store to appeal to every skater. Not one store can carry every brand.
Did you have any previous experience before opening?
Yes, I worked in a couple skate shops before this.
How are skateboard sales compared to apparel and shoes?
Seattle in the summer time is great for board sales. The weather is the best in the country and we don’t take it for granted. Boards get used, tossed, and new ones bought.
What has been the single best selling brand over the past six months?
Who are your top three reps servicing your store and what makes them special?
John Ericson with Converse skateboarding does a great job. Scott Mackey and Craig Mac at HUF make sure we are taken care of up here. Garrick Hull with Supra and Baker Boys checks in on a regular basis making sure we are dialed.
What’s your overall impression of the local market?
Seattle’s market is very unique compared to anywhere else in the country.
What other local skate shops are Alive & Well competing with for sales?
We don’t really have competition here. The brands we carry we keep very tight and vice versa with the other shops. If anything we compliment each other.
What are you overall expectations for the business over the next year?
Continue to grow our in house brand and support the scene and brands who support us.
Are you altering the way you buy for 2014? If so how?
Yeah I (George Otto) feel as a buyer if you’re not learning anything from the shop you’re not doing your job. Trends change as well as products. You need to be on top of it or you will not succeed. We are shifting dollars more into apparel. It’s what’s working for us right now.
Is your shop working closely with any particular brands?
Our brand list is pretty small at the shop. We like to think we work closely with all of them.
What are some things brands are doing to work with the shop?
Collaborations help us a lot. They bring recognition to us as well as our city. It’s a good way to educate a customer in the region on a brand. It also shows that a brand cares about that scene.
What are the team riders part in the shop? Any competition wins or shop skate videos out?
Our team guys help us out tremendously. They are on the street representing everyday. That is all we ask. Skate and have fun doing it, and be cool to everyone because you are representing the shop. We do not have a full video out yet, but we are planning on doing one. We do have a lot of edits out. One of our best so far was the collaboration we did with Thrasher last year:
Your store has a very distinct design. Did you design it yourself or was it a collab between certain people? Who came up with the idea for the wood paneled look?
We all had input in the design. The wood we found in Oregon and was actually from an old barn. We were lucky enough to have Dan Eyler as a partner build out the shop. We used the wood we found to build custom furniture. Our friend Mike Childress build the steal racks for us for the board wall. We wanted to have a northwest feel to the shop and the reclaimed wood fit that vibe.
On your site you guys have a flyer for Block Party Weekend. Do you guys host events like these often? If so since when? And what’s your favorite part about hosting/sponsoring events?
We have hosted events since we opened and will continue to do so. We like doing events that make sense with our brand. We will not just throw our logo on a flyer. We are very hands on when it comes to events. Our favorite part is the party of course.
Your online shop basically only has your apparel and some Huff stuff at this point. Do you plan to create a bigger online store in the future?
Yes we do plan on expanding our online with more brands. This is our goal for 2014.
Any future plans for the shop?
We would like to expand not only with the brand but with a possible second door. Also start to film a shop video.
Anything else you want to say about the shop?
If you’re in Seattle stop by.