IN THE KNOW with Shane Johnsen of Tribute Boardshop
Tribute Boardshop in Nelson, BC opened its doors in 2003 and is fast approaching its 18-year anniversary! Owner Shane Johnsen is close to hitting a significant milestone himself, after spending 25 years in the Nelson snowboard and skateboard retail business. From pandemic pivots to new ventures, we sat down with Shane to catch up on life and business.
Hey Shane! It’s been a while my friend, how are you?
I’m well, I Just returned from a 2000km Motorcycle trip up to Jasper via the Icefields parkway! Much needed escape before, what I expect to be another crazy busy Winter Season in Retail here.
Speaking of crazy busy, how have the last 18 months or so been at Tribute? How has the pandemic affected business for you?
Business wise it was a challenge just like all of us in retail, but one saving grace here in the Kootenays was the localized support in making damn sure we stuck around. Our local web sales are still way above pre-pandemic as some folks still like to keep a good distance from the shopping district here, but luckily want to keep their money in town and not fund another Bezos rocket ship!….., plus there has been a shift from the usual Showrooming activity to actual increased instore sales, people here want to keep it local now more than ever.
Have you had to pivot at all to stay in business? What did this look like for you?
Well, we did close for almost 80 days at first, that was a trip but also became an opportunity to get closer with our industry. Countless convos regarding the situation with Reps and Distributors really helped me wrap my head around this thing and gameplan in a manner that didn’t overwhelm my world, grateful for those friendships!Now we keep a maintained local shipping service to support our web sales in the area and will be looking to furthering our YouTube presence through our Review show – The Tribute Lounge. All of this is expanding on what our Brick and Mortar has always been doing and so far, so good!
How is Nelson navigating the Pandemic? You guys just got hit with forest fires too, right?
It’s crazy how you start to become desensitized, but it’s happening to me! I now associate summer with the fires as a norm and that’s a real concern going forward. The one we had this year was awfully close to BALDFACE Lodge and there were a few days there we thought it could overtake that area. It’s going to take a major change in society and our choices to curb this one and we all know how negatively the smoke affected BC interior tourism. On the pandemic front, we are the epicenter of anti-everything here, so I’ll just say it’s been interesting….
I know you worked tirelessly to bring a public Skatepark to Nelson, have you seen the fruits of that labor? I bet the park has been an important addition to the city these last 18 months!
Yeah! 12 years of my life that took our group! still so proud of that one! I’d say the skate community has doubled in the west Kootenays and the park sure helps foster new talent here! With team sports literally shut down here, that park was overflowing and if I find the time, we will make a push for another smaller “skate spot” build here but at the opposite side of town.
Amazing! For those that don’t know you. You’re a bit of a Renaissance Man! Other than being a store owner, buyer and all-around Mountain educator! You’re a Snowboarder, Carpenter, Mechanic, Fisherman, Musician, Barber – Did I miss anything? You always seem to have fun projects on the go or be on the road somewhere. What’s next for you/Tribute?
Ha! That’s about sums it up! My Grandpa always told us to never stop learning new skills and I take that one to heart. Some of my side gigs like playing in the band or barbering took a massive hit this past 18 months and its now looking like most of our upcoming shows will be canceled on the music front … so a bit bummed on that to say the least, but I have a chopper to finish and some final touches on a loft conversion I started as a covid project, so defiantly busy in my limited spare time!
The next big push for Tribute is the upcoming YouTube show and I’m sure that will challenge my skillsets, looking forward to getting these episodes online for our followers! I felt there was a glaring opportunity for a review show in that space that focused one snowboarding specifically, Mark Fawcett and I have a really well-rounded foundation in that world and can get some real relevant content out to those looking for it. Hope you check it out.
You bet! I have been seeing you at KNOWSHOW for almost as long as I can remember, what are some of your earliest memories of the show? What are you most looking forward to about a return to in-person buying and tradeshow season?
I’ve been lucky enough to not lose contact will all my favorite humans in this industry, and honestly, Zoom showings are totally fine with me! But we all know there is nothing like a real face to face hang out with those you have been doing biz with, in some cases 20+ years, will be great to see everyone and determine what shade of navy a shoe is up close…haha.
I remember the first KNOWSHOW well and the transition from the old Sandman shows in Richmond, it was the right move as it streamlined our core industry and did help a lot of us navigate the right brands for our stores…. that mentality has carried forward today and look forward to seeing you in person soon Scott! Be well Man!
Great catching up Shane, we’re looking forward to seeing you again and having you back at KNOWSHOW next January!
Check out the Tribute Lounge on YouTube: