LOS ANGELES — Burton Snowboards opened its largest flagship store here last week, one that reflects the brand’s evolving expansion into the surf/skate market.
To boot, the 11,500-square-foot space, located at 8175 Melrose Avenue, is the first Burton store to incorporate all three boardshops. Each department boasts a separate entrance: one for skateboards and the brand’s core outerwear line, Analog; another for Channel Islands surfboards, which the company bought last year for an undisclosed amount; and a third for Burton’s snowboarding hard goods and apparel.
The West Coast flagship is Burton’s seventh store and the third to open this year, following Osaka, Japan, and Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood.
“Instead of going to Whistler or Aspen or Vail, we thought it was important to come to urban centers to show our brand to a wider audience. It’s not just a mountain town mentality,” said Anne-Marie Dacyshyn, director of retail marketing for Burton Snowboards.
The store’s Melrose location—steps from high-end retail institutions like Fred Segal, designer boutiques like Paul Smith and vintage purveyors like Decades—is not yet a boardsports destination. But Dacyshyn pointed to a growing number of surf/skate brands moving into the area, including DC Shoes, which took over a nearby, 6,900-square-foot space that housed Miu Miu until it was quietly shuttered last year. Burton had considered locations in West Hollywood and Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade before landing on Melrose.
Cementing itself as a direct retail player with full boardshop service in L.A. has raised the ire of several local independent shops that carry Burton, as reported last month in Transworld Business Magazine. In an interview with DNR, Burton CEO Laurent Potdevin tried to downplay any ill effects the new flagship might have on mom & pop operations: “We of course want to be very careful with our retailers not to hurt their business. But everybody knows that our flagship in Soho has brought better brand penetration to that area. Our retail accounts in New York have grown faster than the national average.”
Designed by the Boulder, Colo.–based architecture firm Tres Birds Workshop, the flagship has an interior fit for marauding boarders with snow-caked boots, despite the sunny-and-70-degree weather beyond its steel garage door entrances. Display walls and cabinets with half-pipe-inspired rounded edges are made of reclaimed Douglas fir timber. Floors are either poured concrete or hardwood. In the center of the store, a 20-foot Port Orford cedar tree looms over Burton’s year-round collection of argyle polos, graphic T’s, allover print hoodies and bottoms, with prices ranging from $120 to $500.
Burton’s breadth of sub-labels is also on display throughout the store, which has a 60/40 ratio of men’s to women’s apparel. Its highest price-point line, Mark XIII, occupies an entire wall and features collaborative outerwear pieces with Paul Smith, including a single-breasted hunting jacket and a $1,000 double-breasted trench—both outfitted with taped seams and other technical details crucial for the slopes. Olympic gold medalist Shaun White’s collection of boarder-meets-English-gentleman outerwear is available, as is the monochromatic Idiom line and the company’s sneaker line, Gravis.
Burton’s direct retail push into a surf/skate market dominated by Orange County apparel giants is necessary for greater brand awareness, Potdevin said. The East Coast born-and-bred label’s advantage, he argued, is its commitment to hard goods and depth of talent on its sponsored surf/skate/snow teams. “It’s all about our athletes driving our performance product. Quiksilver and Volcom are great brands, but they’re only clothing brands. The core of our brands really is hard goods.”