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(Saturday) 2.4.12

Surf Labor Profile: Canvas Shop

“Carry stuff that is interesting and well made.” This is a unique and refreshing philosophy adopted by a new surf shop, entitled Canvas Shop. This new shop is truly a rare gem that can be found in Orange County’s last small town, Seal Beach.

Canvas Shop came to be when owner Ryan Callis, a former art professor at Biola University, decided to take a chance and start over by purchasing a canvas shop. Canvas, what’s that? Canvas is an extremely heavy-duty plain woven fabric used for making boat covers, sails, tents, and other items for which sturdiness is needed. What’s that have to do with a surf shop? Nothing really, but it does give the shop a cool buzz and does provide a steady flow of business while the shop establishes itself and builds a following.

Ryan is a pretty mellow guy, talkative, and engaging. He’s been a surfer for years so we talked about classic board designs and shapes then talked more progressive retro shapes and performance (right about this time my girlfriend started shopping and yes we walked out with a bag of goodies). Our conversation switched to starting a business, and Ryan explains how being a practicing artist, he knows how to adapt, be resourceful, and take on new challenges. Taking over a fully-functioning canvas shop that was in business for over 40 years was no easy task, but Ryan understood there were core things that could never change – quality, customer service, and understanding that you don’t have every answer – sometimes you have to get creative with solutions.

  • The Shop
  • Ryan hanging out
  • Para Cord Bracelet
  • Hand Planes
  • The drive by...
  • Top of the mountain
  • Business in the back
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The shop itself is one of those creative solutions. Surf shop in the front and full working canvas shop in the back. Like an inverted mullet: party in the front, business in the back :) . All jokes aside the items in the shop are really special. They’ve all been hand selected and they are all made by local sources. Not all in Seal Beach, but all made locally in neighboring states in small quantities – it’s pretty cool because Ryan and crew know all the people they work with.

Here’s a super cool example. They sell a bracelet made out of military grade parachute cord. The bracelet is totally cool looking and I’d be down to wear it but what makes super awesome and unique is that if *ish ever goes down you can unwind the bracelet and you are left with 8 feet of this military grade parachute cord to get you out of a jam. But wait, there’s more. If you send your story and any leftover cord back to the woman who makes the bracelet she will send you a free new bracelet. How bad ass is that! And that is what I mean by Canvas carrying cool, unique and unexpected items (ask about the Jalapeno Jam).

Canvas Shop is a different type of surf shop. Who knows, maybe the evolution of a traditional surf shop. It’s too early to tell, but its interesting and fun to say the least. You should stop by and check it out –

Website: http://canvasshopsb.com/
Store Hours: Monday thru Saturday 10-6.
Address: 702 Marina Drive Seal Beach, CA 90740

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