As a surfer and loyal customer to my fave sports-apparel store (Unsound Surf) in one of my absolute fave neighborhoods in all of New York (Long Beach) this was 'designing fun' to the max. Surfing in the northeast does have its downsides (best waves are usually found during hurricane season -typically during the fall and dead of winter-) but also plenty of perks including 3 very different and enjoyable surf locations where the waves are almost always up for some fun (also plenty of other spots in nearby New Jersey) but as far as NYC is concerned, 2 of these surf spots are within or near the city limits (Far Roakaway, Long Beach) and one is further out on the easternmost end of Long Island (Montauk).
All 3 of these spots might not have Pacific Ocean like waves but believe it or not New York has some of the best waves on the entire East Coast plus a mellow surf crowd, luckily attitude-free that is out there out of a mutual love for the ocean and looking to enjoy any ride they can get. The interesting thing about the New York surf scene is that it openly embraces all ages and skill levels and includes everything from traditional surfing to body boarding (though the city did ridiculously ban that for a while), paddle boarding and kite surfing so we had to reach out to locals and visitors alike to see not only who their customers were but who their potential future customers could be. As the store also caters to skaters, snow boarders and general any outdoor adventure/sport/thrill seeker our audience was limitless but we decided to stick to surfing for the first phase as that seemed to be the majority of their focus, clientele and products.
Long Beach (about an hour's drive or train ride from NYC) with its southeast best swell direction and northwest best wind direction offers fun surf for all ages and skill levels (except on the aforementioned hurricane swells) and a true beach town vibe with plenty of wonderful and hip restaurants, bars, cafes, stores and year-round events and activities that we wanted to showcase along with the store's products.
Even though the physical store is visible when driving into Long Beach, it isn't if you arrive via train, being a couple of blocks away from the LIRR station. That meant we had to raise awareness by boosting its web presence, ecommerce business via social media, weekly email blasts with sales and featured products, getting involved with local surf competitions and surf related business. We wanted a nice, clean, fun theme, an "endless summer" almost retro vibe, even though the store caters to all seasons and all seasonal sports/activities.