Follow-Up File: Moondoggiesbucks tide of stale economy

Name: Randy Adler

Job: Owner

Organization: Moondoggies Beach Club surf shop

What they said then:

In August 2009, Moondoggies Beach Club owners Randy and Nicole Adler told The Tribune they were consolidating and opening a temporary outlet.

With locations on Monterey Street in San Luis Obispo and another on Dolliver Street in Pismo Beach, the couple had just opened a new store at 837 Monterey St.

The prime corner location was occupied for 40 years by Johnsons for Children. That retailer moved to Higuera Street when the building was due for earthquake retrofitting. When it was once again available, the Adlers jumped at the chance to lease it.

Moondoggies previously occupied two smaller retail spots at 863 and 868 Monterey. But the lease on 863 wasn’t up until April 2010. Until then, they would operate it as an outlet.

“We are locked into the lease so we decided to do something productive with the space,” said Nicole Adler.

What they say now:

The move to the highly visible corner across from Mission Plaza was a good one for Moondoggies — even with the expense of carrying the outlet space.

“Foot traffic has increased considerably,” Randy Adler said. And he prefers selling in a “square” to the old “rectangle.”

The shape and open floor plan of the 3,800-square-foot downtown shop, he said, makes it easier to display merchandise and guide shoppers’ movement.

“People can travel in a circle” and see everything, he said. “It’s a big difference.”

Running the outlet store confirmed to him that there’s demand for surf-and-sport discount apparel downtown — but it isn’t Moondoggies’ niche. He prefers his specialty shop, in business since 1986, where the retailer is expected to “do something special.”

“There’s definitely a great market for an outlet, but at the same time it’s usually a different customer base,” he said. “It’s not something I want to put my energy into. It’s a different business model.”

San Luis Obispo sales are off from previous years, said Adler, who generally declines to share sales or financial figures. But he doesn’t see that as reflective of the new location.

It helps, he said, that his target customer is 12 to 25 and brand-conscious.

“Kids are growing and they’re always having to replace their clothes as they get older,” Adler said. “The economy when we were in the old location was much more vibrant, much stronger. Sales have lived up to our expectations.”

— Raven J. Railey