Business

Thursday, Jan 30 2014 06:24 PM

Hoggz closes at Town & Country Village

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    By Felix Adamo / The Californian

    Chad Hoggard in front of his then-new surf shop, Hoggz, on Dec. 6, 2010.

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BY JOHN COX Californian staff writer jcox@bakersfield.com

Hoggz Surf Shop, an independently owned store known as much for the booming enthusiasm of owner Chad Hoggard as for the store's hip styles, has closed.

Hoggz closed about three years after opening near Trader Joe's at the Town & Country Village shopping center on the northwest corner of Stockdale Highway and Coffee Road.

Hoggard and a crew of helpers were taking down the last remnants of the Hoggz sales floor Thursday morning. All merchandise had been removed from the roughly 5,000-square-foot space.

Hoggard, former manager and co-owner of the Wavelengths surf shop on California Avenue, said Thursday he was too busy to discuss what led to the store's closure. Asked whether the business would reopen, he said, "Don't know."

The store sold surfboards, skateboards, wakeboards, sunglasses and clothing. It also rented out stand-up paddle boards, and Hoggard offered demonstrations of the sport at the Park at River Walk.

"Best place in the valley for surf and skate!" customer Greg Huston wrote in a five-star online review, the only rating posted at Google+.

Darlene Mohlke, a representative of Hoggz's landlord, said the company was sad to see the store close.

"We thought (Hoggz) brought a lot to Bakersfield," she said.

Retail neighbors at Town & Country generally viewed Hoggard's sudden exit as illustrative of the difficulties facing independents who try to compete with large retail chains.

"People generally want big stores," said Mark Price, owner of Snead's for Men, an independent clothier a few doors from Hoggz at Town & Country. But, he added, "the department store isn't the answer to everything."

Price described Hoggard's customer service as ebullient, his products as unique.

Another neighbor, Knight's Jewelers' owner Bill Riel, said the Hoggz closure and recent loss of other local independents should give pause to anyone considering opening an independent store.

But he also saw a lesson for shoppers: Don't expect local independents to match the prices offered by large chains with greater purchasing power.

"Everybody's looking for a deal," he said, "but they don't know a deal."

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