Southern California Rolling O-Lab Retail Tour
Our retail stores got some love from the West Coast Rolling O-Lab on the week of April 20th, 2009. Manned up by Bryan Shelton, Sean Messing, Kyle Bitner and myself, Sean Abeyta, we took the bull by the horns and dialed in stops at 12 retail store locations in 5 days spanning over 342 miles and enlightening over 200 store employees and passer-bys about HDO. Everyone was amped to see the Rolling O-Lab in this environment as it’s a rare site at a retail shop, but just as impactful, if not moreâ€¦
We started the first day at one of Mark Olsen’s (a,k.a. “Ole’s”) accounts, Otay Ranch Eyeworks down in Chula Vista, CA stoking out their staff as well as a few of their satellite stores and also ran through a few REI employees from the Otay Ranch Towne Center located caddy-corner from this location. We had members from the California Border Patrol swarming around the truck trying to get more information as we were passing out U.S. Standard Issue cards and informing them of our Military / Law Enforcement Program. Everyone was stoked, including the owner of Otay Ranch Eyeworks, Ankur Kalra who said, “Thanks for the support everyone. The staff is definitely pumped about O.”
From there we were off to our next stop at the Sport Chalet in Point Loma, San Diego, CA. We had a great spot positioning the truck directly in front of their store giving us great exposure and bringing in tons people off the street. We dialed in the entire store as well with an Oakley Optical & Impact clinic while we were there and leveraging Oakley as the best sunglass brand on the planet.
This day was the longest of the bunch as we started at the REI in Encinitas, CA at 9am opening the truck from the side and turning the volume to 11. We had a crowd of REI employees waiting to get in the truck to check it out before we set up and before their store opened. As soon as we gave the green light that we were ready to go, everyone wanted to be part of the first group. REI was impressed with the O-Lab and were very humble to have the truck at their store. “I just wanted to send out a big thanks to you and your crew for coming out to our Encinitas store. It was a fantastic opportunity for all of us to learn in greater depth about your products and technology behind the company. My staff had lots of great feedback for your team and the information they passed on to us. Let us know when you plan on being in our neighborhood again.” – Eddie Mah (Manager at REI, Encinitas, CA)
Next on the list was the Sport Chalet in San Marcos. We got there mid-afternoon and again stoked out this location. Both managers on duty as well as their whole staff got to benefit from the truck. We had a handful of day shoppers in full pursuit checking out the truck and then the Oakley case in the Sport Chalet afterwards.
The last stop of the day was the Sport Chalet in Temecula right next to the Temecula Promenade. The managers helped out huge with this stop by posting advertisements throughout their store notifying customers and employees alike that the truck was stopping by. Props to the Temecula Sport Chalet for dialing in the marketing last minute!!!
Yet another day of Oakley terror as we hit the halfway mark of the tour, our first stop was the Sport Chalet in Rancho Cucamonga off the 15 Freeway and Foothill Blvd. We had a great showing from multiple Oakley accounts from one of Jay Twitty’s surf accounts, a few Sport Chalet employees whom had the day off, and even a Sunglass Hut manager from Valencia!!! The Rolling O-Lab was pulling retail Employees from far and wide!!! After pulling a few groups through it was time to pack up and move onâ€¦
The final stop of the day was the Sport Chalet in Brea on the other side of the 57 Freeway from the Brea Mall. Another good spot with great exposure right off Imperial Hwy. which brought a bunch of customer traffic. After slaying this location, with the help from Tim Drnec, the GM of the Sport Chalet came out to personally thank us for stopping by and spending the time to get his store dialed in with Oakley product knowledge and we were welcome anytime.
Pulling into the final turn we made our first stop at the Sport Chalet in Huntington Beach on the brisk Thursday morning. When we were just about ready to pack up the Huntington Beach Sport Chalet had just finished up their quarterly bike clinic where they had Bike Techs from multiple Sport Chalet locations. We decided to stay a few extra minutes so we could stoke them out as well.
Moving on, we stopped at the REI in Santa Ana right next to another Oakley account Roger Dunn! The good news… Roger Dunn was having a four day sale and there was a ton of customer traffic along with some Oakley representation from our own Jim Fitzpatrick rocking Oakley sales. We were pulling people in like crazy having a full truck almost every time and had added help from Jay Twitty whom brought one of his core accounts by. One memorable moment was when one of the REI associates stopped the optical clinic halfway through to go inside his store to pull two of the top selling competitor eyewear and put them on scope and laserâ€¦ what did happened? Of course they failed and we shed some new light in the outdoor market, not to mention the countless golfers that came into the Rig as we promoted the G30 lens.
This was another big day. The first stop was at Jay Twitty’s Active Ride Shop in Costa Mesa, CA. We got there before the any of the stores in that area opened, however it was good time to get the crew at the shop dialed in before the customers started flowing into their store. They were amped and shocked to know how much technology Oakley has to offer in any of its sunglasses regardless of price point. Twitty made another appearance along with Jim Flanagan to help promote the “O” and ensure that the guys at Active along with any customers were giving the full V.I.P. treatment. Thank you guys!
Stop #2 consisted of posting up at the Sport Chalet in Mission Viejo right next to Kaleidoscope and the Mission Viejo Mall. Practically the entire store was at their front door watching the truck pull in and set up. Wide eyed and ready to role through we started getting them dialed in. A special appearance by Tim Drnec helped bring the support and made the account feel extra special as they had nothing by kind words as we started packing up for the final stop. Halfway through the event, I got stopped by one of our Sunglass Hut managers from Canoga Park who made the trek all the way down here to see the Rig. He was so impressed, he followed us to our next location.
For the final stop, the Rolling O-Lab flicked the nitrous switch as we pulled into the Sport Chalet in Foothill Ranch, right next to HQ. We had great Oakley representation with Pierre Martin, Ryan Evert, Aaron Frazier, Mario Midway & Tim Drnec bringing in the heavy artillery. With all the support from the special guests and the hard work from the Rolling Lab Crew we rocked the house on this last stop. The new manager of 3 days was speechless and had never had any vendor bring to the table what Oakley had offered. I think we made another fan for life.
After all was said and done the O-Lab made its mark in Southern California. Every account satisfied above expectations and peoples lives changed. I look forward to working with the Rolling Lab again in the near future and again stoking out more of our retail doors and allowing them to see clearer with HDO! Huge props to Shelton, Messing & Bitner for their commitment and professionalism during the tour, it couldn’t have been done with you this solid crew!