It's interesting that my dueling partner Alyce Lomax would mention the Winter Olympics in her opening salvo. Perhaps she remembers the Roots fad from the 2002 Winter Olympics. That one didn't last long. I certainly don't hear much about Roots anymore, though I remember the stir that some of those outfits raised among those from the more establishment-minded set. And being part of a dying fad, as Alyce pointed out, is a risk that Volcom (NASDAQ:VLCM) itself faces.

As for distribution deals with Nordstrom (NYSE:JWN) and Federated (NYSE:FD), I'm afraid that I can't possibly view those as good moves for Volcom. As a company that pits itself as against the establishment, those moves seem somewhat like a deal with the devil. Seriously -- how much more establishment can you get than the parent companies of some of the most upscale mall stores around? If ever there were a move that could put Volcom's edgy reputation at risk, that's it.

If there's anything that jaded youth can smell from a mile away, it's hypocrisy. To protect its reputation, Volcom needs to either tread very carefully, attempt to radically change its image, or distribute its wares in those upscale merchants under a different brand. Any one of those strategies has risks involved. A failure to perform with excellence in those establishment retailers could quickly take the wind right out of Volcom's sails. In the short term, the greater exposure from those huge distribution channels just might work wonders. A year or two out, though, and the risk of customer backlash seems huge.

Thanks to its strong balance sheet, a solid grasp on its market, and huge insider ownership, Volcom is certainly worth watching. I wouldn't buy it, though, unless and until a future slip-up again knocks it down into value territory.

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At the time of publication, Fool contributor Chuck Saletta did not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Fool has a disclosure policy.