Shop name: Val Surf.
Year shop opened: 1962.
Owner's names: Mark Richards, Eric Richards and Kurt Richards.
Your name and job title: Brandon Richards, Marketing Manager / Team Manager / Store Manager / Buyer
Address 4810 Whitsett AVE, Valley Village, CA 91607
Phone: (818) 769-6977 Domestic U.S. Toll Free: (888) 825-7873
Monday - Friday 9:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Sunday 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
How's the shop doing?
Great! There's so much happening right now, but it's all good stuff that needs to happen. We just recently re-launched our new website (valsurf.com), remodeled our Thousand Oaks location, and have just now opened our new store in Old Town Pasadena. So, a ton is happening all at once--and that's not even including the little fun things that keep us going, like Shiloh Greathouse's new Skateboarding is Dead video being completed and in-store, the constant demos and contests (the most recent being The Automatic Mag Battle of the Boardshops, which we won), and of course the everyday customer relations. We have nothing but good things happening right now. I couldn't ask for much more.
We don't have a typical customer. It's L.A. Have you ever been to L.A.? We get every type of breed you can imagine, from your everyday Hollywood gossip queens to your basic skate rats to your surf brodies all the way to your prima donnas. We do get the moms and pops with the kids on the weekends, but then again, we also get the core kids who skate miles and miles just to hang out, read a mag and heckle Curtis. It's a good toss-up that makes our stores a little different than most and gives us our own identity. We can cater to the core kids, the mainstream kids, the moms and pops, the celebrities, the industry, and the everyday local hood rats.
Oh, man! The North Hollywood location is where I work, and I've got plenty of crazy stories that would blow your mind--not even shoplifting stories. It's an interesting town here, but since you asked for a shoplifting story, here's one. To make a long story short, one of our employees chased a shoplifter--who ran in the store, grabbed some wetsuits-and ran out--up the street. Our employee was gaining on him, so the guy turned around, pulled out a handgun, aimed it at him, shot two shots over his shoulder and then turned and ran off. Good one, huh?
Do you get any random crazy people coming in off the street?
As if that last story wasn't enough for you! I've dealt with dudes who just literally got out of jail who were still in their prison clothes, bums, the local bar riff-raff, tweakers, celebrities, etc. So, yes, all sorts of different people, good and bad. But that is what makes it fun and keeps us on our toes.
The most popular skate videos currently playing in the shop:
Come on, now! Yeah Right, Hot Chocolate and Skateboarding is Dead, of course.
Yeah, always. We used to have demos all the time until the last Girl/Chocolate demo that banned us from ever having a demo at our storefront again. That's the way demos are supposed to be, though. I was psyched. The kids were going nuts, and Sam got bombarded by hundreds of kids trying to grab free product. The ghetto bird showed-up and we got into some drama with the city. So, demos are now going to be at Skatelab and at private spots that aren't in residential neighborhoods, because our neighbors are boring. We made a good run for a while and the kids were so hyped. I have a new idea that should be pretty cool and we are hosting the éS Game of SKATE on August 28 at Skatelab. Come check it!
Future events (demos, signings, video premieres):
éS Game of SKATE on August 28 at Skatelab, the Grand Opening Party for our Pasadena location in late August, and shop parties every Saturday at 1650 N. Schrader BLVD in Hollywood.
Skatelab, Glendale, Pedlow, Newbury Park, Camarillo and Verdugo. We need another private one! Anyone?
Shop team riders:
I know I'm going to forget somebody. Here goes! Jeron Wilson, Shiloh Greathouse, O.G. Rudy Johnson, Chico Brenes, Stevie Williams, Justin Eldridge, Daniel Castillo, Joey Brezinski, Ricardo Carvalho, Andre Genovesi, Clark Hassler, Lamare Hemmings, Steve Kindle, Greg Mitchell, Weston Correa, Justin Schulte, Jonny Albao, Guy Hartley, Mike Lawlor, Casey Rigney, Dylan Gardener, Shaan Harris, Jeremy Cornell, Chance Eldridge, Daniel Abadi, Sagan Lockhart, Scott Mackey, Joey Abarca, Zach Wagner, Hayden Biener, and the newest edition--who won't know until he reads this--Brandon Thompson. Plus, I help out the needy! You know who you are!
Riders flowed by éS Sales Reps or team flow:
Justin Eldridge, Justin Schulte, Sagan Lockhart, Brandon Thompson, Shaan Harris.
What's the best part of running a skate shop?
Being able to put a smile on little kids' faces by getting them a new set-up, giving them stickers, or better yet, getting one of the boys (Jeron, Shiloh, Justin, Chico, Stevie, etc.) to sign them an autograph.
What's the best part about éS?