When you think Greeley, Colorado, skateboarding is probably not the first thing that comes to mind, but Nate Giska means to change all that by launching Blacklist Boardshop in this college town where there are almost as many cows as people.
While Greeley, Colorado may be a long ways from Lawrenceburg, Indiana they are now connected by more than just their Midwest atmospheres. The first Blacklist was opened by Nate's brothers Ben and Joe in Lawrenceburg five years ago, and after building their base in the Midwest, Nate decided to join the family business by opening Blacklist Colorado in April. Blacklist is looking not only to sell boards and apparel but also to support an entire city's skate and snow communities with values and goals that are new to the scene.
The Blacklist Storefront Lit Up at Night (All photos: Mackey Hooker)
This is your first shop. How is the experience thus far? How is Blacklist Colorado doing?
It’s been great. For the most part, the community has been very responsive and supportive. It's been a very humbling experience. Sales wise, we have exceeded our projections in the first two months.
How is it being a core shop in a community that has not had one before?
It’s definitely a huge adjustment for not only us, but the community as well. For the most part, the kids don’t really follow the skateboard industry as much. For instance, kids have not had a shop to support that supports skateboarding in return. So we’ve had to find ways to adapt and help battle blank decks sales among other things…. most recently we’ve made a push to show our support for skateboarding by lowering all of our deck prices to $43.99.
What are you doing to promote Blacklist?
We have hosted several events so far to help grow the scene by holding events at the local parks and just trying to get the kids psyched on what we are trying to promote.
What are the major brands you're carrying in skate?
On the Skate side we are carrying Cons, Vans, Supra, DVS, Lakai, eS, Etnies, and Emerica shoes. The Hundreds, 10.DEEP, Mighty Healthy, Diamond Supply Co, Fourstar, Matix, and KR3W clothing. Real, Anti-Hero, Krooked, Girl, Chocolate, Alien Workshop, Habitat, Deathwish, Zero, Mystery, Slave, manik, Thunder, Royal, Independent, Bones, and Spitfire on the hardgoods side.
How about on the snow side?
Rome, Burton Coalition, Stepchild, Never Summer, Capita, Union, ThirtyTwo, Technine, Nomis, Sound, Bonfire, Dragon, Skullcandy, Celtek, Neff, and Bluebird are our snow brands.
What are your best sellers so far?
Shoes: Cons… we sold through two SKU’s in the first month…. Vans and Supra are a close second.
Decks: We are selling shop decks about five-to-one over all pro decks. Deathwish and Krooked are our best selling pro decks
Clothing: We completely sold through all 10.DEEP’s spring season and The Hundreds is selling very well too.
Are you moving more soft or hard goods?
We’ve struggled selling pro decks. We've sold the same dollar amount in premium t-shirts as pro decks. We have sold more shoes than anything by about four times.
Being a bit off the beaten path, how has the rep support been? Do you have any standout reps yet that are going above and beyond to help you out?
It’s been very spotty. Scotty at KR3W/Supra and Deathwish has been incredibly supportive and helpful. Chad Lewis at Girl Distribution and Fallen, and Jamie Craig and Brad Handel (in-house) at DLXSF have come through a few times and showed their love. Unfortunately, there have been several reps from companies that we carry that I rarely, if ever, hear from.
On the snow side of things, Lesley at Burton, Anders at Bonfire and Skullcandy, GAGS at Never Summer, and Joel at Rome have been great.
What are some pros and cons you’ve seen thus far?
I love the shop. I have a lot of hard work and money invested in it, aside from my love for skateboarding and snowboarding. It’s definitely been a lot harder introducing a shop with high standards on store atmosphere and brand selection in a community that isn't familiar with such an image. But at the same time, an untapped community has given us the opportunity to come into Greeley and have more of a skate boutique because it’s something new to this community. Denver, Boulder, and Ft. Collins are so established… it’s nice being at the forefront of the Greeley scene.
What's next for Blacklist? Any future plans that will blow minds?
Well, we definitely have lots of plans moving forward this summer. We have a collab wheel coming out with Spitfire very soon. We are excited to grow all of our in-house branded apparel and accessories. Most importantly, we just want to get out and skate with the kids – show the love we have for skateboarding, and skateboarding in Greeley. There is a lot of talent here and we are doing what we can to get some recognition to these kids.
Personally, I am real excited for kids to get back on campus and introducing our snowboard division. For the first time, kids will be able to get their hands on core brands like Stepchild and CAPiTA.
Nate Signing Some Store Decks on Opening Day in April
Anything else you’d like to add about the shop, accessories, economy, or the cows?
The economy is an over-played track. I don’t gauge our success based on the weak economy. Skateboarders are skateboards; they aren’t going to stop skating because they have less money. They do what it takes to get back on new wood or get a new pair of shoes. The businesses and shops that are failing because of the economy are the ones that don’t do good business. The mistakes they make, they may be able to get away with at times, but when tested by a recession they fail. I think if anything, it has just made us get down to the basics and make sure our numbers are sound.
I'd also like to give a huge shout out to my parents Scott and Jeri and my brothers Ben and Joe at BLACKLIST Indiana. Without these people, the shop could not be a reality. Also, Mackey Hooker, my skateboard manager, and Eric McEachron for their countless hours and continued support of Greeley skateboarding. My intern Andrew, and my homies Al and Chris for their continuous free labor and support
For more information check out www.blacklistboardshop.com