Industry Profile: Eastern Boarder’s snow buyer Herb Grignon
15 Jul, 2010
Job Title: many
Employer: Eastern Boarder
Years on snow: 15
Days on snow: 30-40
Currently Riding: Skate Banana
Currently I am: typing
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Herb: Born in 1972, Lifelong Massachusetts resident, married with an amazing daughter and black lab.
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Herb: It has allowed me to go places I would never have been able to and it keeps me young.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Herb: I started working at Ski Market when I was 20ish as a salesperson. Became a shop manager then assistant manager, overall great learning experience. Lucky enough to have the same friends as Tabor(owner EB) and when he was looking for a store manager I got the gig.
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Herb: 97% is from work experience, I think with almost any job your going to learn as you go, no level of education can substitute for experience.
Shay: Tell us about your role at Eastern Boarder and a description of the work you do?
Herb: Snow buyer-buy all snow product for EB, I put the orders together and then go thru them with Tabor
Interweb- all aspects of the online store
Team Manager(snow)- although I am currently handing this duty over to the very capable Tommy J in our Nashua location
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Herb: It really depends on the season, during the snow buying season (January-March) my job/day tends to be much more hectic, the same can be said for Holiday filling online orders.
On a basic day I get to office, check email, Boardistan, TWbiz, store blogs, listen to messages, reply to messages/emails, fill online orders. We just moved our warehouse/offices into our Natick location so I’m looking forward to more time on the floor.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Herb: I have been fortunate to have many, but would have to say going to Baldface was tops.
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Herb: Ugh, where to start? Over saturation, off-pricing, lift ticket prices, low margins, lack of brand support for smaller retailers, deal a day sites, etc, etc.. I think there is a great disconnect between vendors and the “core” retailers that have built the brands over the years. Whether it be direct to consumer sales or co-branding with megamart online retailers (SMU, co-op advertising) they seem to have forgotten who helped them get where they are. The funny thing is every year for the last 3 years the mega stores they support have come back to bite them in the ass.
Our focus has been to try and get new riders interested and trying snowboarding, to help educate them so we have lifelong riders, not just a sale in the register. We held off on the online store as long as he could, we still don’t believe its the best way to sell snowboard products, unfortunately it is a necessary evil. We would like to see the industry focus on keeping people in the sport more, not selling them the cheapest product possible.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Herb: Experience without a doubt
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Herb: Get a job at your local shop, get to know the reps, get a sub rep job, then be a rep for few years and then get a cushy sales manager job.
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