Staff photo by Emmy Errante
Surf City Surf Shop is expanding to include The Annex, located in the building next to the surf shop.
Breaking away from the norm is what Surf City Surf Shop owner Mike Barden has planned for The Annex at Surf City. Taking over the building previously occupied by The Daily Grind coffee house on Causeway Drive, Barden said the space would offer Surf City the opportunity to do something new while also being tied to the parent store.
Surfing, art and music will be the theme of The Annex, Barden said. On the retail end, Barden said the new space would allow him to showcase newer brands like The Critical Slide Society, Insight, Jedidiah and Barely Available Strictly Limited from Volcom. The Annex will be only one of two shops in North Carolina to carry Volcom’s boutique BASL brand and the Vans California Collection. That exclusivity and no back stock to merchandise are changes Barden said are trending in surf shops nationwide.
“A lot of the bigger companies are trying to get back into grassroots stores because the market is just so saturated right now. Hopefully with The Annex we can actually do something good in retail,” Barden said.
Having a select quantity of goods in The Annex also contributes to the layout of the store with mobile racks and shelving.
“The stuff you find in here is going to be consistently changing,” Barden said. “If you come in here one day it is going to probably look completely different the next time you come.”
As for surfboards, Barden plans to showcase his stock of handmade Christenson Surfboards in The Annex.
Apart from the retail, The Annex will offer patrons other services as well, like a coffee and hot tea bar. Barden said all coffees and teas used would be fair trade and organic certified, and that coffees would be offered fast and slow-drip style.
“You will be able to get the freshest cup of coffee on Wrightsville Beach right here,” he said.
Having the coffee bar, a record player where patrons can select from the choice of records to play and outdoor café tables would allow The Annex to serve as more of a gathering place than Surf City, Barden said.
Another attraction to the store will be the live music and talks from surf industry professionals Barden has planned. The small stage in the corner of the sales room floor will host solo acoustic performances and in mild weather the garage door installed on the side of the building will be open for natural light and to open more room for patrons to enjoy the performances.
The back room of The Annex will be transformed into the creative room, where Barden plans to develop the Surf City zine, offer some tailoring services, and make buttons and other ephemera like original T-shirts. The original goods produced at The Annex will be given out during the canned food drives and other charity events the store will host every month, Barden said.
There will be a soft opening for The Annex at Surf City on Saturday, March 30, featuring a meet and greet with live music from DJ Valient and Crusades.