Editors Note: We are proud to present a new series, Retail Wednesdays, powered by our friends over at Building the Revolution. Each week we’ll profile a different core specialty retailer. Most would agree these guys are the backbone of our industry, and deserve serious credit in evolving to fit the needs of a rapidly changing market.
Location: Marshfield & Nantucket, MA
Years in Business: 15
Interviewee: Dan Hassett
Job Title: A lil’ bit of everything.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
What chain of events led to you owning Levitate?
I worked at Levitate when it opened in 2003 for my mentor and role model Bob Pollard. I was 17 at the time.
Bob passed away unexpectedly three years later from an aortic aneurism. He was 34 years old. It was a shattering experience for myself and our community.
In 2008, the shop was being managed by a good guy, but the economy wasn’t really going in the right direction. I had stayed very involved with Levitate over the years. Bob’s wife Amelia asked if I’d want to take over the reigns, and I did.
What are you doing to evolve with today’s retail market?
Mixing our own Levitate products with established and upcoming brands is definitely a major part of the game. Also, working on customer service and having a great staff are important.
We’re currently building a backyard event space. We’ll have bands play, movie nights, etc. These are the kind of things people really enjoy and keeps them coming back. The sort of things you just can’t get when shopping online. That being said, we’re building out our online sales as well because you simply cannot deny the convenience online shopping offers, especially for certain products.
You started the Levitate Music and Arts Festival in 2013. How has the Festival evolved since its creation?
It’s really exploded in attendance, but it doesn’t really feel all that different in terms of the vibe and experience. It’s still the same concept we started with — live music, art vendors, great food, and cold beer, outside in the grass.
It creates an environment where we can bring together the extended Levitate community in one place. It’s human nature to enjoy that type of setting. This year…