Biz Buzz: San Luis Surf Co. to close SLO location at month’s end

Citing an economy that has vaporized its buyers, San Luis Surf Co., a locally owned surf retailer, is closing its downtown San Luis Obispo location at the end of this month.

“We noticed a huge drop (in sales) about 15 months ago when all of the Cal Poly students’ spending screeched to a halt,” said Anthony Randazzo Jr., who owns the store with Nate Ditmore and Tim Cowan.

The store had opened on the corner of Morro and Higuera streets in the former Meridian store location in 2007. The company’s original store in Morro Bay will stay open, he said.

They were hoping Christmas would give them a lift, but they had only three or four good sale days, Randazzo said.

“It was way, way down from the year before, and that year was bad,” he added. “We think parents stopped giving their kids credit cards.

People would come in and look with little intention to buy anything. We felt we could have taken 90 percent off the price and people still wouldn’t buy.”

The owners will consolidate their inventory into the Morro Bay location.

“That store is different because it’s a destination store,” Randazzo said. “It doesn’t have as much foot traffic, but people come in with a purpose.”

They feel the San Luis Obispo store has helped their customer base to grow and hope their customers will follow them back out to Morro Bay, he said.

In spite of the drop in business, Randazzo said if he had to do it all over again, he’d still have opened the store where (if not when) they did.

“We felt it was a high-profile corner — you get what you pay for,” he said. “And the first year we felt we made a great decision. It was just bad timing with the economy.”

— Melanie Cleveland