For our 6th installment of Featured Shop Friday, we caught up with Justin Wingrove, Manager of Alternative Groove up in Nanaimo, BC, on Vancouver Island!
How long has your store been around? Can you give us a brief history of your shop?
Established in 1999 then sold in 2009 to the Current owner Dark Marc. Alternative Groove is Nanaimo’s original and finest source for Skateboarding, Surfing, Snowboarding, Skiing and Wakeboarding equipment and apparel.
We work hard to stay current, and offer a product lineup of only the best and most suitable brands for our customers’ needs. Our huge selection includes pieces from some of the industry’s most popular makes and some unique local and international gems you won’t find anywhere else.
If we don’t have what you’re looking for in stock, we will do our very best to find it for you.
The staff at Alternative Groove are passionate about their sports, and are highly knowledgeable of the industry and products we carry.
What trends do you see upcoming in the snowboarding world?
Due to an increase in technology like the split board, foldable climbing skis for boarders, and snowmobiles, I think that we will see a big push towards big mountain and back country riding. With athletes like Jeremy Jones proving how far we can push the sport, more boarders are looking for that rush off the beaten path. This doesn’t mean everyone’s going to be split boarding, but you will likely see more guys taking their park skills to the powder as the powder becomes more and more accessible.
Does your shop have a motto?
We ride what we sell.
Where do you and the shop team ride?
Mostly at our local hill, Mount Washington, but you will find our athletes scattered throughout the British Columbia Mountain Ranges.
Any favorite local hang-outs that you’d like to give a shout out to?
Well, for a good cup of coffee our favourite coffee shop in town is The Buzz.
Mount Washington for a nice sampling of Pow and Park.
For some good grub we never turn down curry from Tandoori Junction Downtown Nanaimo.
BUT! The most important piece of equipment is our vehicles to make sure we get to and from the mountain. For this we trust the great folks at Steve Marshall Ford in Nanaimo, they are like family and always take care of us, whether it’s service or sales they welcome everyone with a smile and they truly do go above and beyond to take care of their customers.
What sets you apart from your competitors?
Our attention to detail and customer service. We want to make sure everyone who walks through our door gets the best experience possible, wether it is taking the time to set up a board properly, making sure our customer has the best boot for the job, or simply providing some knowledge to help improve their experience while participating in any one of the sports we cater to. We treat everyone like family.
What do you see for the future of the industry?
NEXT LEVEL RIDERS! With snowboard manufacturers pushing the envelope with new and better technology every year, they are getting better at using different materials to make great boards for the mini groms. The world’s youngest snowboarder right now is like 2 years old…. Imagine if that kid sticks with the sport, they will be killing it by the age of ten, and breaking ground by 15. It’s always cool to see the younger generation’s vision for the sport, and getting them into it earlier is only going to make it more interesting.
Do you have social media links so we can, follow you?
What’s your favorite piece of gear and why?
Goggles. I have had the unpleasant misfortune of descending a mountain in -46 degree weather with no goggles. I don’t recommend it. This is the connection between what you’re riding over and your brain…. If you cant see, you cant ride.
If you could invent a new piece of gear for snowboarding, what would it be?
Auto ratcheting bindings…. Think Marty Mcfly, just step in and they do the rest of the work.
Anything else you’d like to share?
Stoked to get a Niche board under my feet, stoked on the new eco technology!