Making Your Store a Destination

Sky Matula’s snowboard showcase gives The Hot Tub Store a special flair

When Sky Matula opened The Hot Tub Store’s sixth showroom in Santa Rosa, California, he knew he wanted to do something different. Despite the bland office interior, Matula saw the potential to combine his enthusiasm for snowboarding with his desire for a unique showroom.

Today, the showroom is a museum in and of itself. Colorful snowboards adorn nearly every inch of the walls, sparking customers’ intrigue. 

Matula refers to his snowboards as the NorCal Snowboard Collection, which features boards from some of the most classic and influential brands, including Burton, Sims, Joyride and Avalanche. 

The idea for this design came from a keynote speech by Jon Schallert, a business expert in creating retail destinations, at a Watkins Wellness event that Matula attended several years ago. During the talk, Schallert encouraged owners to create a destination at their business that has nothing to do with its day-to-day operations. 

Matula heeded that advice and found great results. He’s noticed the display can be an icebreaker for salespeople and helps bring personality to The Hot Tub Store. When customers come into the showroom, they’re surprised and think they’ve stumbled upon something unique. 

They’re right.  

It’s not the only showroom with personality — The Hot Tub Store’s five other branches feature large canvas prints of local landscapes that Matula took himself.

For Matula, who took the reins of his family business in 2013, it’s crucial to maintain showrooms for the modern era, especially because this year, the business is celebrating its 50th anniversary

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“Because we’ve been around for such a long time, it’s important to do projects to update our spaces,” he says. 

Linda Cahan, a retail design strategy consultant, says Matula’s snowboard showcase is a great use of the space. 

“Most hot tub stores do very little with the wall space above their units,” she says. “Sometimes I’ll see a poster or two. Once in a while, a fake tree will break up the monotony of the walls. In Sky’s space, I’m blown away by the colors and patterns. To his credit, he displays these boards perfectly.”

Cahan explains that when there are so many of the same type of pieces (in this case, snowboards), the best way to show them off is precisely and geometrically. 

“The spaces between them need to be perfect,” she says. “They have to be all at the same angle. Variations will look messy and downgrade the obviously high quality of this collection.”

She shares that other retailers can make their stores a destination by including their interests. 

“Passion is always powerful,” she says. “We really don’t know why some people are drawn to spas while others look the other way, but we do understand passions and hobbies.”

Curated by Sky Matula, the NorCal Snowboard Collection features classic and influential boards. Each board tells a story —a chapter in the progression of snowboarding. As you explore the collection, you’ll discover boards ridden by legends such as Terry Kidwell, Craig Kelly, Jeff Brushie, Terje Haakonsen, Jim Rippey and Noah Salaznek, among others. These boards bear witness to the talent and groundbreaking style of these pioneers. Visit the website to learn more.