Mount Surf Shop is a family-owned, locally-run surf and ski shop located in Mount Maunganui, New Zealand.
The story began in 1996, when Redge Spiers, a keen surfer and skier, returned to New Zealand after a number of years travelling the world. Having met his wife Toni during a snow season in Whistler, the pair decided to swap the snow-capped mountains for a beach-side life in Mount Maunganui.
Redge began repairing surfboards from his shed for a couple of the surf stores that had sprung up around The Mount, as well as helping local legend Mike Murden and his sons at High Voltage. One of the stores he worked with was Ocean Sports, a store in Downtown Mount Maunganui selling second hand sporting goods. After a while, he and his mate Dusty Waddell decided to buy the place, aptly naming it Mount Surf Shop.
The business partners shared a passion for collecting vintage surfboards, both boasting an impressive quiver by the time they first opened in 2003, and after a few years trading from the Downtown Store, the pair opened the Totara Street shop, a space to display the boards and show off their collections.
With more stock arriving and a growing set of classic boards, the collection gradually found itself being showcased from the rafters, constantly being added to by local surfers wanting to show theirs off too. The Totara Street spot became the local ‘Surf Museum’, a retired feature of the store since it moved a few blocks up the same road, but an attraction we still have enquiries about to this day.
A few years down the line, Dusty felt it was time to take more of a back-seat in the business – and passed his share on to his son Scott, who had just moved back to NZ after working overseas. Both Mount Surf Shops and the newly opened Rip Curl at the Mount continued to thrive until both partners felt it was time for new adventures, and who better to pass the store onto than their employees and long-time customers, Matt (Timmy) Saunders and Lauren Pedersen. The pair have many years of sales experience and thrive off the hustle, Timmy with an economics major under his belt and Lauren with the majority of a business degree, so both were well prepared for taking on the business.
Timmy and Lauren had managed stores for Redge, Toni and Scott for many years prior to the sale of the business to them, and it was during a range viewing trip in Auckland in 2015 that Toni and Lauren discussed Lauren and Timmy buying the company, and Lauren mentioned if they were ever considering selling the business, Timmy and herself would love to be considered first to purchase it before it went to market. A few months later Toni, Redge and Scott had presented an offer, and got the ball on the sale of the stores.
Lauren was fully immersed in the Rip Curl side of the business, and Timmy knew the Mount Surf Shop side, so the pair could successfully and easily take over the different sides of the business. It was an incredibly organic opportunity, with the mentors passing on their legacy to a couple they trusted and knew. For Timmy and Lauren, it was a dream come true to suggest a buy out and for it to come to fruition.
From the beginning of their ownership, Timmy and Lauren didn't want to change too much, knowing how successful the stores already were, so chose to continue with the hands-on management and feel of the local surf shop. Different opportunities gradually came up for new leases, new brands, and new suppliers that the partners felt were too good to miss, including moving the Downtown store next door and introducing Thomas Bexon and Classic Malibu surfboards. Soon after this, the Totara Street moved up a block or two, and Timmy and Lauren had entered into a joint venture of ownership of five more Rip Curl stores around New Zealand.
Of life and work in The Mount, Lauren said: “We both thoroughly enjoy the lifestyle in Mount Maunganui, our local town and retail community. For Timmy and I, being passionate about where we are and what we are selling is exactly what we want to be doing. To be surround by good staff and local customers a part of the Mount community is the dream lifestyle.”
“We want customers to feel welcome first and foremost. We want customers to want to come and have a coffee and a chat and look over our extensive range of products and receive the knowledge of our products if they so desire. We hope to keep working with staff similar to ourselves, it has always been the hardest part of the job, to find more staff like ourselves when we can't be in the store all of the time. We want to continue to grow the online side of the business and continue to offer a welcoming local surf shop feel with great products and lovely and knowledgeable staff who serve you with a smile.”
Timmy and Lauren continue to run Mount Surf Shop and six Rip Curl stores, alongside their trusty mascot Cooper.