This Day On The Street
Continue to site
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

The Digital Skeptic: Outdoors Industry Wins Where Web Can't Follow

BOYNE CITY, Mich ( TheStreet) -- John and Shari Thompson wonder what the mountain of Web hoopla is all about.

"We have a website. We're active on Facebook (FB). We do sell online," Thompson said as he showed me around his pride and joy, Shaggy's Copper Country Skis. He built this four-room factory in the old Knights of Columbus hall here on state Route 75, right down the road from the Boyne Mountain Resort, with its 500-foot vertical drop.

"But it has been no help to us. It's just not an obvious thing."

Thing is, this former framing contractor, who describes himself as a "bit of a pit bull," has got the story that, by rights, should make him be a digital, maker-age superstar: After the economy shut down and his home construction business went south, he and his wife essentially taught themselves how to mass-produce world-beating skis from local materials such as white ash hardwood and fabbed metal meant for the car industry.

He didn't need a magic 3-D desktop printing miracle. Rather, the couple straight up worked night and day and sometimes into the next night using good old-fashioned trial and error. Starting with designs, making some skis, seeing what worked, making more changes and then making more skis. In fact, all the duds are stacked in the corner by an old stage.

"I would go to chat rooms and look for ideas," Thompson told me. "But I realized that if I gave away too much there, I would not get anything for my knowledge."

But somehow, this normal dad who made houses for 15 years now custom fabs the most badass, superhero skis I've seen in some time. A solid pair of skis runs about $600, putting him out in front of major makers such as Europe's Rossignol and Atomic and Salt Lake City's Black Diamond Equipment (BDE - Get Report).

Business is growing. Shari told me they sold twice as many skis this year as last, which is remarkable considering that Shaggy's core customer is the limited experienced-skier market.

"These skis are not for sissies. You need to know how to drive 'em," Shari told me.
Wanna know the remarkable, digital age punchline? Despite being straight out of information age central casting and thus primed to hack the Web to marketing greatness, guess what Shaggy's really relies on to sell skis?

"I'm looking to connect to the better retail ski shops that can communicate my brand to customers," he explained.

That's right, friends. When it comes to selling the big outdoors, the Web is nothing more than a random snowdrift that needs to be plowed through.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Submit an article to us!
SYM TRADE IT LAST %CHG
BDE $8.81 0.00%
CAB $53.71 0.00%
AAPL $128.70 0.00%
FB $78.81 0.00%
GOOG $540.78 0.00%

Markets

DOW 18,070.40 +46.34 0.26%
S&P 500 2,114.49 +6.20 0.29%
NASDAQ 5,016.9290 +11.5380 0.23%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs