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(Friday) 12.6.13

Surf Labor Profile – Thalia Surf Shop

We sat with Corey from Thalia to talk about the shop, shop history and to find out what’s next for one of Laguna’s most progressive shops. Well, we sat down over craft beers so the conversation took some weird turns, but hey, that’s cool.

 

Some quick history. How did Thalia come to be?

Nick’s (the current owner) parents Jim & Pam bought the shop on the corner and it was called Toes on the Nose. It stayed that way for a while then they switched to Thalia Street Surf Shop. It was a classic, old school surf shop. Vintage shirts, old shaper T’s, and the shop was a hub for all the cruiser guys. It was actually a popular stop for guys with Woody’s. Then in the mid 90’s that style of stuff just kind of died. So Nick asked his dad if he could open a shop right next to it. This is right at the end of the 90’s and punk was coming into its own so Nick wanted a shop that embraced that.

Nick faced a tough start. Every other shop in Laguna had deals with the major brands so he couldn’t get any of the popular stuff in the shop. Then a moment of clarity hit and they embraced the fact that they could get things other shops didn’t have. So they started searching for things nobody else had. He had all sorts of interesting stuff. He was the first shop to really showcase Andy Davis’ stuff (called Bird, Free, then Freebird at the time).  So the place started getting this reputation for having an alternative vibe.

 

When did you get there?

Late 2004, the shop had been there for 3 years. On my second time to the shop I was looking for a Cooperfish long board and as I was walking out they put up a help wanted sign. I took the sign off the window and walked back in and filled out an application. So I got the job “Shop Grom” (shop bit** was more like it). Ugh… what a terrible job. If there was something nobody wanted to do, it was mine. Scraping the 8’x12’ window with a razor blade, sweep the floor, clean the bathroom, you name it.

 

What are you up to now?

Over the 9 years I have moved up and am now the buyer, event planner, creative director, a man with many hats.

 

And how’s the shop doing?

Firing. We’ve expanded a bunch of times (the place used to be the size of a closet) and about 3 years ago Vans approached us because they liked what we are doing.

 

Is Vans an owner in the shop?

Nope. We are still independent, but we’ve had collaborations with them before. So when they said they wanted to do a collaboration that was a shop just like ours but only sell Vans we were like “okay, let’s give it a shot.”

So now we have a bunch of Vans gear. And we get a ton of exclusive stuff. We get California Collection, OTW, they do a good job of segmenting their brand and keeping it special.

 

What else is going on?

Lots. The second Thursday of every month we do a concert down at The Marine Room Bar. We call it the Wax Ball. Young surf bands, surfers, fun times, beers flowing.

 

Sounds fun, how many guys who work the shop surf?

Almost all of them. I think there might be a kid or two who doesn’t surf. All the guys in the shop surf on their lunch break, they go before or after work. They’ve got it really good.

 

You aren’t just apparel though, right?

Yeah, we have hard goods for sure. Apparel pays the bills, but we love equipment so it’s our passion to have that stuff in the shop. We actually just started our own surfboard label. “Regular Surfboards”.

 

Clever.

Thanks.  It gets better, our tag line is “Surf Everything”

 

(Laughing) who shapes the everything boards?

Wes Holderman is our primary shaper. He’s a San Diego guy who’s doing long, short, and fish shapes. All are finished with the Thalia vibe. What’s more important is these are priced to get our fans on affordable boards. We have the occasional $1200 long boards in the shop from other shapers, but Regular is all about getting as many new boards out as possible. We have brand new, hand shaped long boards, with color for under $800.

 

What’s in the future?

Looking more at our roots and namesake. We are going to expand the Thalia brand. Things like shirts, button downs, hats, etc. and we are taking it global. We’ve got strong ties and friends all around the world. We get letters, art, all kinds of cool stuff in the mail. People are stoked on the shop so we want to make sure our gear is available for them.

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