Pandemic Proof: Paris Trucks Ahead
After receiving a press release from Paris Truck Co. about turning off their online store for the busiest shopping day of the year to support their retailers, I decided to check in with Ryan Ricker, Brand Manager for Paris Truck Co. to learn more about this effort and also how business is going. From the sounds of it, they've managed to ride out the pandemic and are gearing up for an exciting 2021.
By Vipe Desai
Give us an overview of how your business is doing under the current situation.
This has definitely been one wild year and we've been doing our best to keep trucking along (no pun intended). No one knew what to expect when the pandemic started to wash over the world. I think every business was concerned. Luckily for us, we were in a good position because we don’t have a lot of overhead. There are only a few people that work at Paris Truck Co. so fortunately we didn't have to lay anyone off. Regardless, we were still in the dark about what was to come in the months ahead.
There was definitely a tough period but we were delightfully surprised when the orders started flooding in as more and more people gravitated towards sports like skateboarding and longboarding. We joked and wouldn’t necessarily say that skateboarding is pandemic proof, but in a way, providing some people the opportunity to try new activities such as skateboarding.
What steps did you guys take to support and work with your retailers at the start of the pandemic and what was the response from your retailers?
In the beginning, no one knew what to expect or how long this would all last. We are a very global brand and every country, state, and city has been going through their own restrictions and regulations. We did our best to make ourselves available and continue our production and manufacturing as best we could in order to supply any retailers that were in demand of products.
Have you guys been impacted by inventory/demand issues and how are you managing through things?
Manufacturing and production have been tough this year. Factories have been shut down or running on lower capacity making it difficult to keep up with the soaring demand seen in recent months. We've had a few supply chain issues with shortages of raw materials here and there as well. We are still playing a little catch-up, but overall, we are coming back strong.
You guys are taking a big step in closing your online store for Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Sunday as well. What is the reasoning behind this and what do you hope to accomplish?
Board shops built an industry and culture that has given so much to skaters around the world. They play an integral part in the skateboarding community and local scenes. We know it's been even more difficult for these shops this year and want to do our part to give these board shops an advantage during Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. I don't think Sunday has a special name but we figured we'd throw that one in there too as a bonus.
How have retailers responded to this news?
Of course, the response has been great! I don't think any shop would complain about getting additional business directed their way. We think it's really cool to not only show our support but also try and educate our customers about supporting these shops in their communities.
Any predictions for 2021 about your business or the skate industry in general?
I think we're all ready for 2021! My hope is that all these new riders will stick around and become more a part of the skate community. Who knows what this "new normal" will be, but I know a lot of riders, including myself, can't wait to get back out there and skate together again. We've all been missing those big community sessions, coming together at skate events, meeting new people, and spreading the stoke. I think one thing that 2020 has taught us is that there is a lot of fun to be had outdoors and the fact that skating and longboarding are so accessible, I think we are in a good position to continue to grow.