BUSINESS BEAT: International award reflects shop’s transformation

Sanction Boardshop in Victoria and Langford carving a niche in the trade

Sanction Boardshop owner Joel Luyt stands in one corner of his Herald Street store

Joel Luyt has long been invested in the boarding sports – the snow and skate variety.

But it wasn’t until last year, when he bought Sanction Boardshop from supplier Brad Richmond that he got a chance to mould his vision of a successful business involving his passion.

Luyt, 32, spent 13 years in Abbotsford before moving his family to the Island in 2012. In buying his own business – the shop has locations on Herald Street downtown, and Langford – he brought experience in both financial planning and youth services to the table, both valuable assets for his new choice of work.

Almost from the get-go, Luyt and his staff have worked to shed the traditional model of skateboard and snowboard shops: boards and trucks and black T-shirts only.

“You cannot stay stagnant, you have to evolve and know what is trending,” he says.

His expansive, high-ceilinged downtown shop is all about colour: the main floor is filled with clothing while the upper level features a wide enough selection of boards to appeal to pretty much any rider.

While he recognizes that certain customers will be stereotypical boarders and hipsters, he has also tried to appeal to “the average Joe Blow construction worker who just likes to snowboard.”

To further broaden his customer base, Luyt distributed an eight-page mini-catalogue targeting parents shopping for their kids for Christmas. It was a big hit and brought new faces into the stores. “That, in this industry, has not been done.”

These days, he estimates the clientele is an equal mix of teenagers and young adults, and parents.

In a town where owner-operated board shops such as Sitka, HTO and Coastline have developed loyal followings, Sanction has grabbed a chunk of the market and flourished.

“We basically doubled what (the previous owner) did in sales in a year and a half,” Luyt says.

The company’s turnaround didn’t go unnoticed. Sanction Victoria was recently named Canadian region shop of the year at the 2012 TransWorld Business awards in Long Beach, Calif.

“(Winning the award) feels incredible. I mean, we’re in Victoria, not downtown Vancouver or Whistler,” Luyt says. “This speaks volumes about our staff and our building and how accessible we are.”

The store on Jacklin Road will be expanding soon, moving two doors down to a space that will effectively double its selling space.

Luyt’s longer-range plans include expanding to Nanaimo and perhaps the B.C. Interior.

“I definitely want to become the shop on the Island,” he says. “I want to work on boosting the Sanction brand in future.”

Sanction Boardworks, 506 Herald St. (250-590-2597), 112-2806 Jacklin Rd. (250-590-3626).

Businesses get behind charity efforts

Area merchants and their customers helped out in a big way over the holiday season, raising money for various causes and people in need. Among them, Country Grocer raised more than $10,000 for Help Fill a Dream through its sale of dream bouquets and other items. Long and McQuade Music customers in Victoria and Nanaimo donated $2,400 for the Nanaimo & District Hospital Foundation’s music therapy program.

Travel Talk road show comes to Victoria

Guided vacation company Trafalgar hosts a free information night on upcoming travel ideas and tours. It runs from 7 to 8:30 p.m. tomorrow (Jan. 30) at St. Ann’s Academy, 835 Humboldt St. Attendees have a chance to win door prizes.

Victoria couple reveals their secret

Executive and corporate coaches Shawn and Keli Carpenter are the new representatives for LifeSuccess in Victoria. The couple are using the program Thinking Into Results, a coaching approach made popular by Bob Proctor, a primary figure in the personal development documentary, The Secret. For more information, contact Shawn at shawn.k.carpenter@gmail.com or 250-858-5003.

Breakfast and lunch served up at Uptown

New Uptown tenant Good Earth Coffeehouse (3450 Uptown Blvd.) offers up everything from lattés to mac and cheese, with an emphasis on fresh ingredients for breakfast and lunches. Proprietors Denise and Kingsley Grant’s 66-seat café is the second Good Earth location in Victoria – the other is at Royal Jubilee Hospital.

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