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Craig & Ryan Sugihara

T&C Surf
The best part about being an entrepreneur is taking something that started with nothing and building it into something you’re proud of.

About the Entrepreneur

Craig Sugihara founded Town & Country Surf Shop in 1971 in an old barbershop in Pearl City Hawaii. Fueled by a passion for surfing and initial start-up capital of $3,000, T&C Surf has evolved into a multifaceted lifestyle brand and has established its place as a worldwide industry icon. Despite their global success, Craig and his son Ryan have never forgotten their roots and are fiercely proud to still be one of the only locally owned and operated surf companies.

More with Craig & Ryan

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned this past year? 

You learn what’s important to you. Your family is important. What makes you happy is important. And you really realize how important the relationships you have within your business are, from the relationship with your bank, the relationship with your vendors, and especially the relationship with your people.

Your “Stay Stoked” slogan — why is it important?

It really comes from passion. That feeling you’re getting when something excites you. During this pandemic, there’s a lot of people who might have caught a wave for the first time. I think that feeling they’re experiencing is what stoked is about.
Those are the feelings of our company that we want to spread. That’s our way of sharing what my dad started when he started the company. It’s that stoke that we’re trying to spread, what we want more and more people to experience.

What have you learned about perseverance?

You’re gonna have to do the hard things to survive, and you’re gonna have to make the hard decisions to find success. If you’re looking for the easy way out, it’s not gonna happen. You gotta put in the work and get in there and find the things that nobody one wants to do, and you gotta do em.

What do you think makes T&C Surf different from other companies out there?

Craig: I think we’re a true surf company. We live to surf and surf to live. We actually live the lifestyle. When I first started out, trying to balance surfing and working was hard. (chuckles)
Ryan: The biggest thing that differentiates us is we care about our customers. We’re a locally based company, locally owned still, and customers are important for us.

What do you love about working with Hawaii National Bank?

Craig: I like their good people and good customer service. They have helped our business with the grand openings of all our stores, inventory needs, and other financing.
Ryan: You need a great relationship with them. HNB stepped up to the plate and they said we’re gonna help you guys out. That’s just the loyalty all these years that HNB has been so important to us as a key partner, and that’s the relationship that we need from our bank.
I think the secret to T&C’s success is our people. That’s number one in our company, whether they’re involved in the background or on the front end.
Ryan Sugihara
T&C Surf

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