SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SHOP: ZUMIEZ UNION SQUARE
As a core ripper I always try to support the core shops and brands wherever I’m at, be it in buying a shop deck or tee, or at least purchasing a bigger named company’s product on location at a place that’s owned by and in support of skateboarding as I’ve come to know and appreciate it. With that said, sometimes you just need a sheet of grip as soon as possible. So yesterday, I broke edge and went to the Zumiez in Union Square.
Like the core ripper that I am, I had acquired an Inkwell deck (a brand owned by NY skateboarding pioneer and surrogate father to dozens, Andre Page) from the man himself. I happened to be near Union Square, so I went to Zumiez just to be able to have an operational setup. The window displays are littered with big Nike ads, pre-assembled completes with shiny green wheels, and heaps of longboards. I walked in to a blast of air conditioning, a skeptical security guard, and two-stories of product manned by at least seven employees. Everyone was very genial and greeted me one by one. One girl complimented my skateboard deck. I asked the first guy I saw, who had just finished helping a girl in a leg immobilizer select a beanie, if they had Jessup. He replied with a nervous, bewildered laugh, as if to say, “I specialize in board shorts”, and pointed me toward another customer service representative.
“Do you have Jessup?” I said.
“I’m sorry, Jessup?”
“Grip tape.” You know, the brand that has been around since before anyone in the store had been born. Originally used for outdoor wooden steps to prevent slipping, yes, Jessup. A brand in skateboarding that is honestly probably older than skateboarding itself. Jessup.
I later learned that Zumiez stores, of which there are over 600 in the United States and Canada, generally feature the sales floor, a couch with video games and television, changing rooms, and a ‘skate shop.’ I went upstairs to find the ‘skate shop.’ The guy with tattoos behind the core skateboarding display of trucks, wheels, and bearings knew what I was talking about and gave me a sheet. I asked how much and he said $5.39. Standard pricing—I appreciate their not taking advantage.
“You go downstairs to pay and then you can bring it back up and I’ll grip it for you.”
“I got it, but thank you.” Very cordial, this core ripper, and knowledgeable. I’ll give him that. And considering the average hourly wage for a sales associate at Zumiez is $8.62, nationwide, I’d say the brother went above and beyond. I went downstairs and was rung up by an equally cordial young lady at the register next to the hacky sack bucket (retailing $2.95-8.95 USD). She also complimented my Inkwell deck.
“Did you find everything you were looking for?”
“Yes.” It was true. I paid and she wished me well and I did the same.
I zagged through the racks of t-shirts, arranged uniformly throughout the space, on my way out. The average Zumiez is appromixately 2900 sq. ft. depending on space restrictions, and I’d bargain that this one was a little bit bigger than most. The security guard looked at my receipt and I left and set my board up on a park bench. The gross income of Zumiez Inc. was $238.18 million in the year 2014. Overall this was a very pleasant experience. For more information, follow this hyperlink. Thank you skateboarding.