Welcome to Frisco. No, not the city by the bay, but THE shop, with a capital the, in Brescia. Located to the east of Milan in Northern Italy, Frisco Skate and Snowboard is the jam for skate and snow apparel and lifestyle gear in the region. Situated at the foot of the Alps in Lombardy, Brescia is home to around 200,000 people and boasts a great skate and snow scene. Frisco has been leading the charge in that scene since it opened its first shop in December 2001, and then another location at the Railway Skatepark in 2007.
We had a chance to tag along with B on his travels and sit down with C0-owner/Co-founder Gianlucato Tognoli learn more about what brands, trends, and styles are hitting at the top of the Italian boot, and how US brands can better support Euro-tailers.
What categories do you carry at Frisco? We have skate and snowboard brands. We carry some streetwear brands too, but we try to keep it as core as possible on the skateboarding side.
How would you describe the scene in Brescia and at Frisco? Our town is not very big, but since we opened the shop we tried to do our best to develop the skate scene and since the skatepark opened in 2007, it keeps growing!
Sum up your average customer in five words: Young, crazy, free, partygroovers, and Stupid J.
What makes your shop unique?: We take care of customers in the best possible way—we try to be friendly and kind and to make them have fun.
That’s always number one on my list! What three categories have been moving the best for you this year? Shoes are absolutely the best selling category for us. T-shirts and sweatshirt are second, but we sell a lot of skateboards too!
What three US brands are strongest at your shop? DC is the overall best seller, Element has a huge sell-thru for clothing, and Vans for the shoes.
What about local and European specific brands? Iuter and Bastard are the Italian brands we push the most and they are both doing pretty well. Speaking of European brands, we sell lots of WeSC clothing and Cliché is going strong for skateboards. We also carry adidas skateboarding, but I don't know if you can consider it a European company.
What was the best thing that happened for your shop in the last year? The party for the 10th year anniversary celebration was great. It took a lot to organize an event like that, but it brought a lot of people from nearby cities to see the concert and party with us!
How do you think you will answer that last question a year from now? We are coming out with a new line of clothing and skateboard material with the shop's brand. We already did it a couple times, with good results and I think it's a good road to follow, so I hope next year's answer will be that we sold everything in two weeks!
What do you wish US brands would do differently to help you out? Some US brands should take better care of their Italian distributor’s behavior. Some distributors are selling product to all kinds of shops, while I think they should keep it for core shops. Some distributors have a little bit of a conflict of interest.
Everyday we hear on the news about the "European Debt Crisis"—you feeling this in your market? How? You can feel it when you talk to the people. Luckily, we are in a healthy region of Italy so that must help, but we noticed that the middle class clients are buying less.
What are your biggest concerns for the next year? To survive the European debt crisis!
What are the the most important things to check out at your shop? The skateboard decks are displayed inside a microramp, we are very proud of our shoe wall, and we have a huge selection of hats. And be sure to check out the hot chicks coming in!
Anything you'd like to add? We listen to a lot of reggae music, which always helps us to be kind with the customers!