Oceanside, CA, is a beachside city located just south of Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in San Diego County. The combination of military families and tourists presents the need for a range of sunwear options, which is where Sunglass Corner comes in. Managed by Fabian Munoz, the shop has become a sunwear hub, and is part of a group of businesses, collectively called Asylum Board Shop.
Sunglasses: How did Sunglass Corner find its way into the world of Asylum Board Shop?
FABIAN MUNOZ: In 1990, Asylum Board Shop started off as a little beach and board rental. The owner, George Corbett, was renting out bikes and boogie boards, and slowly but surely, it started growing. Back when he first started the store, we had the sunglasses in the surf shop. He added a skate shop in 2001, and acquired the sunglass store in 2006. We actually just took over a gift shop in January, so it’s still growing. We’re kind of taking over the neighborhood, a little at a time.
SG: Who are your customers?
FM: The surf shop and the skate shop get totally different groups, but in the sunglass store, we tend to see a big group of just about anybody. We carry about 45 brands in the sunglass store, and we have all price ranges up to $650 Diors.
SG: Does your proximity to Camp Pendleton have an impact on business?
FM: It does. Oakley is what they can wear in their uniforms because of the ballistics lenses, so that’s our number-one seller. We’ve got five big towers of Oakley sunglasses, and we’re actually getting ready to add tower six because we have such a high volume. We move about 40 to 60 pairs a week.
SG: What other brands are at the top of your list?
FM: Well, our top five brands would start with Oakley, and then number two is Spy Optic, and then three would be Electric Visual, and then four is Ray-Ban®. It’s a toss-up for fifth position between Versace and Maui Jim.
SG: What is your sunglass accessories business like?
FM: We sell a lot of Oakley and Electric Visual soft goods. They do very, very well for us, which was surprising at first because when we tried putting them in the surf shop, they didn’t do as well. Sometimes we do a gift with purchase, where customers get a free hat with a sunglasses purchase, or a T-shirt. It helps a lot with sales.
SG: What’s your selling approach?
FM: I train the employees by telling them just to ask questions. It’s based on the preference of the customer. A lot of the time, we try telling people, “Just try stuff on, whatever feels good. When you look at yourself and it feels right and you fall in love with that one, that’s usually the one you should go with.”
SG: Do the shops all operate as one business, in terms of communication and schedule?
FM: We all always keep in touch and have management meetings so we can always reference anything a customer asks for and say, “You can find it in the gift shop.” We get familiar with it so we can actually cross-sell from one store to the other.
SG: And how do the other shops respond to customers looking for sunglasses?
FM: We always point and say, “Go to the Sunglass Corner.”