While carvin’ a course in the Space Coast of Florida last week, which also happens to be home to the East Coast’s Surfing Capital in Cocoa Beach, I stumbled upon a radical line of footgear whose genesis was in the surfing culture of Southern California. Sanuk, which means “fun and happiness” in Thai are the most comfortable non-shoes (their claim) I have ever worn. Totally off the rict, dudes and dudettes!
Sanuk may look like shoes, but they are actually sandals designed to look like shoes. I bought two pair of Sidewalk Surfers and they are great fun and very, very comfortable to wear. Even though it is still technically winter here in Michigan, I have a pair of them on right now as I write this post – way cool! I also dig the patent pending recyclable hanger for their sandals.
As much fun as the sandals themselves are, the two stores where I first saw them – The Flop Shop in historic Cocoa Village and Ron Jon “One of a Kind” Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach are entertaining adventures in themselves. When your biggest concern in a store is not to max-out your wallet, that is a nice problem to have.
If sandals and related footgear are all you are searching for, The Flop Shop is the single coolest footgear store I have ever found (sorry Playmaker’s). The original one is just a short surfari in the old surfmobile to downtown Melbourne, Florida.
Ron Jon, on the other hand is an internationally recognizable institution and definitive retail destination that first began in New Jersey. Cocoa Beach, Florida is home to the company’s “One of a Kind” largest and most epic store. It’s awesome display of vintage surfboards from Ron’s collection, alone, is worth the visit to this boss facility, not to mention the huge selection of all kinds of sun and fun gear.
Much like Cabela’s, IKEA, or Bass Pro Shops; the Ron Jon Surf Shop in Cocoa Beach and elsewhere is a perfect example of a destination retailer – one that attracts customers (and tourists) from well beyond a community’s typical trade area. Many destination retailers attract related ancillary uses like hotels, restaurants, outlets, and other uses which feed off of the traffic destined for or from the primary attraction. Quite often, destination nodes develop at these locations, even if they are well away from population centers. Dundee, Michigan (site of one of the nation’s largest Cabela’s) is a perfect example of a destination node that contains many more shops and services than a town of approximately 4,000 residents can support on its own. But I digress – will save more details for a future post.
If you are ever visiting Florida’s Space Coast, don’t be a poser. Be sure to hang ten and catch a wave to The Flop Shop and/or to the Ron Jon Surf Shop. Both are seriously radical and most excellent places, for sure!