Run by Mike Pettit and Mike Thienes, The Youth Shelter Supply is a skateboard and snowboard shop that calls Waite Park, Minnesota, home. Looking to draw in riders, artists, musicians, and kooks of every genre, The Youth Supply is thriving in its central MN location, throwing annual events and supporting the local riders that grace its roster. Outfitting St. Paul with brands like Volcom, DC, Girl, and Signal, The Youth Shelter Supply rode out the rough ’11-’12 winter without too much damage, even hoping to spread the Youth Shelter Supply love to a second location in the near future.

We got a chance to catch up with co-founder Mike Thienes to get a solid idea of what makes The Youth Shelter Supply a top-notch spot.

We found heaven..who knew it was in the middle of Minnesota? Photo: Lane Kloskowski

How did you get started?

Around 1993 Emmet Klocker, Adam Bovee, and myself started a Skateboard & Snowboard shop called the Sticks with our friend Doug Anderson. 5 years after, Doug went on to other endeavors, so Emmet, Adam, and I wanted to take what we learned and start something new… The Youth Shelter Supply. Today, Mike Pettit & Myself continue growing the shop.

How have you created hype for the store?

We have always grown our local scene with annual skateboard and snowboard events and grown a local team to create customers for life.

Who is your target customer?

We target skateboarders, snowboarders, artists, musicians, fashion freaks, and kids from all walks of life from average ages 8-24

Mike Thienes, Founder and Owner of The Youth Shelter Supply

What product(s) is/ are currently your top performers online?  
What are your top 3 best selling brands?

For clothing, Volcom, Altamont, and LRG, for footwear its Nike SB, Lakai, and DC. The top skate brands are Deathwish, Real, and Girl, and for the snow side we do the best with Capita, Union, and Signal.

For on-line, we do good with specialty brands that we have strong relationships with, like Capita, Union, Signal.

What percentage of you business is online vs. in-store?

Our online is only like 10-15% of our total business, but growing.  Our main focus is in-store and promoting our local scene.

How are you feeling about where your inventory levels stand following last season? 

We are OK on hardgoods considering our worst weather year yet.  We do have a lot of remaining outerwear.

What will you do differently next year based on what went down? 

We are ordering less technical outerwear pieces and more street pieces made for the cold, not just snowboarding.  Our hills have high speed tow ropes and the kids don't need some tricked out neon jacket made for the mountains.  Even in the mountains, kids mainly ride skateboard influenced snowboard parks and don't want to look like that rich skier kook on and off the hill.

In a perfect world, where will The Youth Shelter Supply be in 5 years?  

We will have 2 solid stores and a successful specialty web store.

What would you consider your biggest accomplishment thus far?

Making a store like this work in a non-ideal town for skateboarding and snowboarding.  Also, in my spare time I have helped grow Bald E-Gal Productions & launch some pal's careers.

Keeping the youth well supplied and looking good in the process. Photo: Lane Kloskowski