By Chelsea McDaniel
Ambush Boarding Company first opened its doors on Friday June 13th, 1997, in Kennesaw, Ga. It a family-owned company that is dedicated to action board sports; skate, wake, surf and snow. In the store, customers can find anything they need from brand name boards, to clothes and shoes. In addition to the store, Ambush launched Buywake.com, Buyskateshows.com and Buysnow.com to reach customers on a national level. Ambush also promotes and organizes events and contests to give people an outlet to practice their desired sport.
Founder and owner Chuck Morrow, and his stepson, Lee Elliott moved to Georgia from California where they were inspired to create a board shop. Elliott explained that when he was a teenager in California, he would frequent Berkley, where there were record stores and skate shops galore. He said that his stepdad wondered if anyone had ever thought to put these two shops together to make a one stop shop for skaters to buy their gear and pick up some records. When they moved to Georgia there was really no skateboarding community, so Morrow put his idea into action.
“We wanted Ambush to be its own entity,” Elliott said.
Ambush started out as a 1,200 square foot shop in a shopping mall. After a few expansions to accommodate its growth, it is now a free standing building with plenty of room for its customers to shop inside and skate outside. It is located in a shopping complex off of Barrett Parkway in Kennesaw, Ga. In 2007 it became the second largest reigning skateboard shop in the metro area.
When Ambush first got started, they were selling records in addition to all the board products, but Elliott said with the advancement of MP3s, they stopped selling records and focused on the sports. Morrow wanted to create a place where boarders could come and get everything they need from a knowledgeable and reliable staff. Every employee at Ambush participates in one of the sports that they promote, so they provide excellent service with the knowledge to back it up. Elliott said that they want to build relationships with their customers so they would spread the word about the store and keep coming back. “Our job is to educate our customers,” said Elliott.
Even though Ambush is one of the largest stores in the Southeast, it still has some competition. “Our biggest competition is the Internet,” Elliott said.
He said that there were illegitimate sites that sell secondhand equipment for a little bit cheaper.
Some people go to these sites because they think they are getting quality products for a cheaper price. In reality, they are not really getting a good deal. Elliott said that people benefit better from coming in the shop because the staff knows all about the products and will give customers advice about what they want to buy. Since Ambush has various websites to shop from, Elliott says that the Internet is its biggest ally. “High risk, high reward,” Elliott said.
Customer and skateboarder Markus Satryb visits the shop often and says the staff and the products are better than any skate shop he’s been to. “Ambush is the first place I go to when I need skate stuff. The staff is great, the products are great and the customers are great; I always leave with new friends,” Satryb said. It is easy for customers to relate to one another when they come to the shop because they have similar interests and they are all open to learning from each other, Satryb explained.
“We want people to be happy and excited about skating,” said Elliott.
Aside from skateboarding, Ambush is also heavily involved in wakeboarding. It hosts various contests and events every year to get people active in the sport. In March of 2006, Ambush teamed up with Kennesaw State University to host the Ambush Polar Bear Wakeboard Contest. Elliott said that it was a huge event and had a great turnout with the help of KSU. “Once KSU got involved, teams and students from other colleges heard about it and came out to support us,” Elliott said. Aside from this contest, KSU has participated in three other events with Ambush. Elliott explained that all the proceeds from raffles and contests go straight to the university. “I’ll always have a special place in my heart for KSU, because they are my alma mater,” said Elliott.
About every six months, Ambush hosts skateboard competitions right in front of the shop. Elliott says that it hosts these events to give skateboarders somewhere to come and safely show off their skills. Even though these events bring a lot of people to the shop on that day, Elliott said that the effects were both negative and positive. He said that people who need something from the store will come and see all those people in the parking lot and leave. Elliott said that they usually give participants free merchandise, so they are less likely to come in and buy something. However, in the months following the event, they experience a rise in customers and sales because word gets around about what an awesome place it is.
Ambush is a business that considers board sports to be a way of life. It strives to support and promote this lifestyle in the Kennesaw and metro area through events, contests and excellent customer service. It offers an extensive collection of merchandise for popular board sports and a place for participants to be active and share their love of boards with others. The company strives to support the boarding community with “Service, knowledge, integrity, commitment, passion…everything you need to ride.”