Local skateboarders and snowboarders are among the residents who have been keeping a curious and close eye on the progress being made at the soon-to-be-opened Wave Rave Outlet Store in Bishop.
Located on U.S. 395 north in Bishop directly across the highway from the Meadow Farms Country Smokehouse, Wave Rave’s fans should have no trouble finding it – just look for the white gondola lift beneath the bright yellow “Wave Rave Outlet” sign with a large colorful mural on the south face of the building.
Wave Rave quality and customer service is well-known to local snow enthusiasts and visitors to the Mammoth Lakes area. The flagship store – one of the first snowboard shops in the country, opened in 1989 – has a reputation for offering only the best equipment and merchandise year-round to meet the needs of local winter and summer sports.
Why a Bishop store and why now? Owner Steve Klassen, considered a pioneer in the industry, said he had been thinking about a second store in Bishop for quite a while and finally the timing, location and the price was right.
“The Bishop store will have a product mix that is a little bit different from the one in Mammoth Lakes. The store in Mammoth Lakes is 90-95 percent current year, high-end products such as clothing made with Gore-Tex. We are also the largest single-store sellers of Burton, Dakine, Volcom and many other brand-name products for snowboarding and skateboarding in the world.”
Somewhere around 60 percent of the merchandise in the outlet store will be products left over and discounted from the Mammoth store from the previous season, complimented with some really great deals that Klassen has been able to make with companies with leftover products from last year as well. “I got some very good deals,” Klassen said.
The plan, said Klassen, is to pass on the savings to his customers at the new outlet store, while still offering the same great brands and quality that customers appreciate at the Mammoth Wave Rave.
Inside the new store, which is still undergoing some reconstruction, there is a beehive of activity as Wave Rave employees unpack boxes of merchandise, load shirts, jackets, pants, sunglasses, goggles, gloves, boots, bindings and snowboards onto store shelves and racks. All the top brand names are represented such as Burton, Volcom, Dakine, Electric, Arbor, Bern, Billabong, Capita, Coal, Dragon, Neff, Union Bindings and others.
Klassen has already hired one employee from Bishop for the new store and will have two store employees coming down from Mammoth to work. He plans to hire 6-8 employees. He already employs as many as 30 workers at the store in Mammoth Lakes depending on the time of the year and season and is looking for similar success at the new store.
Outside the building on the south-facing wall is a new mural painted by pro snowboarding legends Jamie Lynn from Baker, Wash., and Bryan Iguchi, originally from Southern California but living in Jackson Hole, Wyo., since 1991. Both said they were happy to be a part of the undertaking, to show their appreciation to Steve Klassen as a good friend and great supporter of their sport. They also said they were enormously proud to have been asked to paint the mural for their friend’s new store in Bishop.
So how did Klassen find himself in the skateboard and snowboard shop business? He said that after graduating college and business school, he went on a snowboarding trip to Vail, Colo., where a friend owned a snowboard shop. He saw an opportunity in Mammoth Lakes and opened his own store in 1989, when the sport of snowboarding was still in its infancy. Twenty-five years later, as one of Mammoth Lakes’ most successful business leaders, he not only enjoys a good reputation as “a man of his word,” he has been instrumental in the success of the town as a major winter resort. Now he hopes to add that success to the city of Bishop.
When pressed on the likely opening of the new store, Klassen said that he hopes to open on the Monday or Tuesday before Thanksgiving Day.