It took over two years, but we finally for Noah Salasnek on tape. You can thank Chris Roach for convincing Noah to oblige us. When we met up to shoot the interview at Grass Valley skate park, Noah gave me a box of 21 tapes containing some amazing skate, moto-cross, and snowmobiling footage. I included as much of Noah’s personal archive as possible, but, as long as this episode runs, there just wasn’t room for it all. This one goes out to the Noah nerds out there. Here’s what future legend JP Walker said in his attempt to encapsulate Noah’s beastliness: “Noah was one of the first people to bring a heavy, skate influenced style to snowboarding. The unique thing about that is he backed up all his technical jibbing and spinning with some of the beastliest big mountain lines ever. He could even rip it in the half pipe. In my opinion he is the greatest all round snowboarder that ever lived.”
Well over a month ago, we got a call from a really nice guy from The Berrics announcing their Unified program. He took a lot of time explaining how it worked and coached me through a demo version of the site. I was immediately sold. As far as advertising goes, this was a no-brainer. Everybody that visits The Berrics skates or at least has an interest in skateboarding. As a potential Unified member, I knew that every banner ad of ours would be seen by someone that has an interest in what we sell. Every advertisers dream.
Here’s how the membership works: Any shop that wants to become part of The Berrics Unified program can sign up at 6 different levels. These levels start at $50 per month and peak at $550 per month. There is a slight price break and some extra ad impressions if the membership is paid at once for a full year.
The rates are very reasonable especially if you consider that your audience is pretty much guaranteed to be interested in your product. Here’s the whole scoop as it was presented to the public on the site:
I decided to wait a while before diving straight into this endeavour and kids eventually caught wind of this whole Unified thing. They started asking us if we were signing up. I would just say, quite frankly, that money was tight and we’d hop on when we could afford it. “It costs money!?” They’d ask. “Well, yeah. It’s advertising. That’s how they make money.” I’d reply. “That’s how they can afford to keep The Berrics going.” Hmm…
I knew how this whole thing worked all along. No surprise to me. It appears that a few shops and a lot of the general public are under the misconception that it’s some great honor to be a Unified shop. Like Berra and Koston knighted a select handful of chosen merchants to carry skateboarding into the future. Nope.
Simply stated; a Unified shop is nothing more than a paying advertiser. Just don’t let anybody out there try to make this into something it’s not. You’re smarter than that. At least you are now.
Berra’s been getting a lot of criticism for anointing himself the savior of the core shop. He’s not lifting a finger to help the core shop. He is, however, supplying us with a great advertising opportunity.
The Berrics is actually hurting core shops with their recent launch of a full out shop-a-palooza on The Canteen. They’ve recently expanded from just peddling Berrics gear to carrying just about anything your little heart desires. So while little Johnny is checking out our pimp-ass profile on the Unified page, that new Workshop deck he’s been wanting is only a few mouse clicks away. Slap in the face? More like a stab in the back.
I hear it several times a day. “We can get this cheaper on-line.” or “That place in the mall sells completes for only $99.” “What’s the difference?” The difference is huge.
Skate shops have been battling on-line sales and mass mall outlets for some time now. It’s nothing new and we’ve been getting by. I know that the kids want to support their local shops. It’s where they belong. Local skate shops serve their community as a social hub where kids can connect and make new friends. They skate to the store, hang out for hours watching skate vids, talk about new spots, products, pros, and spill soda on our counters. They immerse themselves in the culture of skateboarding and go home feeling much more a part of the club that is our shop. They take pride in the fact that they got their set-up at the local joint and they’ll rock stickers or shop tees to prove to the rest of the skate community that they support their shop. It’s proof that they’re in the club.
On-line sales are a necessary component to any retail business these days. We’ll be up and running with our on-line store in the next few months. And don’t get me wrong, The Berrics is an amazing virtual community and a source of constant entertainment here at the shop. We love it. I just think the best way to shop on-line is to be aware of how your spending habits affect your surroundings. Shopping from an on-line only or mall mega-chain store rips tax benefits away from your community, hurts small business, and dilutes skateboarding. If you must click to order, choose a brick and mortar.
I guess the whole point of this rant was to make everyone aware what this whole Unified thing was really about; prestige with a price. After all is said and done, skateboarding is all about rolling up to a spot with your friends and having fun. Period. No mall shop or web site can ever take that away.
Will we advertise on The Berrics? Probably. But now you know why we were not one of the first shops to pounce on this “gracious” offer.
New Lowcard Mag just showed up! Check out team rider Chris Teta in the new Sevenfold ad. Got some beanies and truckers as well. Loads of BRAND NEW Zoo York decks, wheels and completes. Krooked and Real completes.