Tactics’ Matt Patton on The Sessions @ SIA

Tactics Co-founder Matt Patton and six of his friends were playing soccer one day in Eugene, Oregon, when they came up with a crazy idea. They were all snowboarders and lived for spending time on the mountain. Together, they figured it would be a dream come true to open their own snowboard shop.

“The whole idea was, why don’t we start a shop, and we’ll make enough money to all go snowboarding together,” shares Patton. “It was really naive, but it was that kind of go, go, go, late 90s mentality, and we were all young and no one had kids, and we all felt it was time for a risk.”

Tactics Board Shop, Eugene, Oregon.

Tactics Board Shop, Eugene, Oregon.

Patton, who had a separate personal career at the time, says he had to choose which path to take. Fifteen years later, the shop is still going strong and Patton doesn’t have any doubt he made the right choice, as he and co-owner Bob Chandler continue to run a strong retail shop and provide a solid community in the Eugene area.

He’s been attending SIA for the past 15 years, and still sees the show as a great tool:

“Even though increasingly there’s a lot of the ordering that needs to be done early, so it’s not like it was where you’re sitting at a table wherever you can find space and trying to chicken scratch out some orders to turn in, it’s just indispensable from the standpoint of seeing people that you don’t get to see.”

Tactics, like all other specialty shops, are faced with their fair share of challenges, especially in a market that’s been relatively unpredictable the last few seasons due to weather, a fact or that’s out of everyone’s immediate control. Patton acknowledges that a it’s difficult to plan a buy for next season when you haven’t even had time to see how the current one pans out, but says the most important thing that brands and retailers in the space are doing are “experimenting with change” in order to evolve and adapt.

On a similar note, he goes on to call out some of the qualities that Tactics’ best brand partners posses, and which brands are doing it right in terms of overall, coherent strategies. Catch up with Patton as he discusses the evolution of the sport, why he’s optimistic about the future of specialty retail and  seasons to come.

Editors Note: The Sessions @ SIA is a video series produced by TransWorld Business in collaboration with SIA Snow Show, featuring some of the most influential snowboarding brands, executives, and athletes. Stay tuned to TransWorld Business as the next videos in the series roll out. WATCH ALL THE SESSIONS @ SIA INTERVIEWS