evident from the snow over the weekend, you can bet there are people
still making their way up the hills to grab a little powder. While that can be annoying to some who were looking forward to
actually having a spring, it's one of the things that makes our area
pretty unique. The idea that you can be snowboarding in the morning
and be skateboarding later in the day within twenty miles of each is
pretty cool. And because of that the local shops have to keep selling
--- To many in Utah the Blindside stores are a rare entity within out state. A small locally owned chain of shops with individual owners, making the inventories of what they see fit and having no real themed connection between them. The idea of having brand recognition with great products and still keeping the location's individuality as a neighborhood store. I got a chance to chat with Mo Collet, owner of the Sugar House shop, about his love for skate and snow and starting up the Highland Drive location, plus a few added thoughts along with photos of the place that you can check out here.
Blindside on Facebook
Gavin: Hey Mo, first off, tell us a little bit about yourself.
Mo: I was adopted from Seoul, South Korea when I was a few months old, but I grew up in Centerville and have lived in Utah ever since. I was a total skater punk in high school. Nobody really knew too much about me… shy kid for sure growing up. Late bloomer for a bit out of High School…came out of my shell… learned how to talk to girls... now I have a beautiful wife named Kami and a kid on the way. Power moves for sure!
Gavin: How did you first take an interest in skate and snowboarding growing up?
Mo: One year for Christmas my brother Brian and I received some “Mogul Monster” snowboards. Yeah dude… the Mogul Monster with Sorel Boots! Awesome setup. As for skateboarding I had some buddies that I hung out with in Jr. High that started skating. Peer pressure saved me from being a jock for sure! The rest is history. I went to Viewmont High so I was always looking up to the FC (Farmington Crew) kids that were older. We used to worship those guys!
Gavin: Was it more of a pastime for you or did you ever try to make a career of it?
Mo: For a minute when I was about eighteen I really wanted to make a run at the pro snowboarder thing. I remember I went to Mt. Hood to see what was up, and I met a bunch of guys that were 28 and had been trying to break into the industry for the past ten years. I remember thinking to myself that I didn’t want to be in the same spot ten years from now with nothing to show for it. No education and no back up plan if I didn’t make it. So I decided that I would go to school at the same time as snowboarding and cover all my bases. Somewhere along the line I realized that I should probably go into the business side of the industry instead of trying to kill myself for a couple boards a season. Probably a good decision. Funny thing was that I went back to hood when I was 28 and couldn’t believe how life had changed. Life is crazy like that. You don’t really realize how much one little decision will affect the course of your life.
Gavin: When did the idea come about to get into running a shop?
Mo: I was always a Blindside kid growing up and I finally got a job there when I was 20. I had been trying to get a job there for a while so when I got it I was so stoked and I really wanted to do the best job possible. I started at the Sugar House store when it was by Barnes & Noble. I worked up the ranks, moved up north and started running the Layton store. I ran that shop for a while. I was still finishing up school at the time and decided that I wanted to give it a real go once I graduated. When I graduated the SLC store had just moved to the Whole Foods Building and was looking for a change. The timing was right, and I wanted to come in and take it over. When I took it over a lot of people thought that it was a franchise skateshop and it was hard. In reality it was as core as any shop out there. Some people still think that it’s a franchise but plain and simple I own the SLC store and it is all me. Rider owned and rider operated. No big wigs no machine!
Gavin: What was that first year open like?
Mo: The first year open was definitely crazy. Sink or swim, I was doing my thing. The business was good though. It was already established, and had a good customer base, it just needed more inventory. I was only 25 at the time and I just felt like the rookie out of all the shop owners in SLC. Nobody in SLC really knew me. Everyone thought that I was either Tom (Lee) or his little brother coming in to run stuff. It was funny. I still get customers that think that I am Tom... Asians in Utah, eh!
Gavin: How has it been for you sustaining the shop with all the changes happening in the area?
Mo: It was definitely tough. I had just bought the store when they told me that they were ripping down the other side of the strip. I was stressing out big time. It was a lot to add on top of a new business at the time. I still have hope that they are going to do some good things with the strip, but I have already built up my shop without it so it isn’t a big deal to me anymore. I really do miss the way it was though. The strip had the best combo of shops and I really think that we need to get that youthful feeling back to SugarHood!
Gavin: Are there any plans on your part to expand beyond what you're doing now, or are you keeping things to business as usual?
Mo: I am always feeling out new opportunities. You have to keep looking and moving forward. I’ve got some things in the works for SLC. Wait and see!
Gavin: Moving to a little local, what's your opinion on the way skateboarding is handled by the city and state, both in parks and enforcement?
Mo: I think that Utah is doing a great job with all the skate parks that are popping up. It seems like there are one or two each year. It is also a bummer though because the city builds these parks and then expects all the skaters to stay at the park. No one wants to skate the same features every day. It is good to have the parks but at the same time they need to ease up on the street skating as well. Mainstream people want to be amazed by all these polished skaters but they don’t want to accept the work and the process that got them there. They want to see the “cool flippy” tricks on ESPN and MTV but don’t want to accept the wax and trespassing that got them there.
Gavin: Do you see anything on the horizon changing for skateboarding or kinda remain the same for years to come?
Mo: The level of talent is going to keep amazing people. The trendy aspect of it I expect it to stay about where it is. We already went through the drought. It is so big right now with all the coverage from X-Games/Dew Tour/MTV/BET, that it is definitely here to stay. I would like it to maintain where it is without damaging the truth of skateboarding. Skateboarding and snowboarding are awesome and there are still a lot of people who don’t understand it.
Gavin: What can we expect from both yourself and Blindside over the rest of the year?
Mo: Expect nothing but the best. We pride ourselves in customer service. We are always going to make you feel at home in our store. Our customers are like family. We are going to put you in the right stuff for the cheapest price. If you haven’t come in lately then make a stop and check us out. Skate or snow…we got it!
Gavin: Aside the obvious, is there anything you'd like to plug or promote?
Mo: Just want to say thanks to an awesome team/staff and family. Thanks for the support!
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