Lloyd Sandel said that he is not one to cry, but he came pretty close last week when a former customer of the Surfhouse drove a $500 donation check from Jamaica Beach.
“All three of his kids were skateboarders and he told me that the store represented so many happy times for them,” Sandel said. “I was blown away. I wasn’t able to talk for a little while after he left.”
The generosity of the former patron is just one instance of a community’s response to recent appeals on social media, including a GoFundMe account set up by a friend of the Sandels which was closing in on its $5,000 goal as of press time.
Sandel says that the reason for the fundraising was really a perfect storm of factors. The biggest one being Hurricane Harvey.
“We didn’t have a drop of water at the store,” said Sandel, who noted that their home was not so fortunate. “We couldn’t get home for five days and then it was another two or three weeks that people were dealing with their own problems.”
Another Harvey consequence was a delay in construction, which according to Monica Danna, Director of Community Outreach at Revive, was significant.
“Permitting times have quadrupled,” Danna said.
That meant a delay for the openings of BB’s Café, Aladdin Mediterranean Cuisine, and Pop & Pan. Danna says that BB’s Café is the farthest along in the process and hopes to be open in the next three to four months. Revive recently signed a new tenant, Re/Forme lagree fitness – similar to Pilates – which will open in January of 2018 to take advantage of people’s desire to get a jump start on their new year’s resolutions.
The Surfhouse moved from its spot on 34th into a space in Revive Development’s new center at 34th and Ella in June of this year. And though Revive managed the demolition and construction schedule so that the Surfhouse wouldn’t lose any selling time in the move between their old and new space, the Sandels wanted to remind people they were still in the neighborhood and in need of their support and patronage.
“Our typical busiest times are spring break and Christmas,” said Sandel, “but October and November are some of the slowest months.”
That’s why the Sandels were so gratified by the response of the community to the call on social media.
“The response was immediate, and amazing,” said Sandel. “We were full up opening to closing. Most of them remarked that [the social media push] is why they were here.”
Sandel said they do have an online presence which they “started in the dark ages” with photos from cameras at Galveston and Surfside Beach, as well as some photos of their merchandise, but the immediacy of Facebook and other forms of social media was what made a huge difference in the life of their business this week.
Now, they want to keep the momentum going. Monica Danna said the center is more than 90 percent leased with options out on the last few spaces.
“We could be 100 percent leased in the next couple of weeks,” she said.
Sandel is excited by the placement of Surfhouse in the complex, which is directly adjacent to where BB’s patio will be. And since the exterior walls are glass, there will be plenty of visibility.
“It’s a super sweet spot,” said Sandel, who also noted that their former building had structural issues which they are glad to be free from. “We were living on borrowed time.”
If you want a chance to use the new skateboard you’ve purchased, Sandel would like to invite you to the annual Turkey Jam which will be held in T.C. Jester Park the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
“It attracts hundreds of people,” Sandel said. “There are skateboarding events for different age groups and food trucks.”
To pick up a T-shirt – or a skateboard or surfboard – and support a business that’s been in the neighborhood for fifty years, the Surfhouse is located at 1737 W. 34th St., Ste. 400.