December 26, 2012: I'm starting this a few days prior to the end of the year last year. I was super happy with how 2012 went. We turned retail and margins around a few years prior and the health of the business was showing that, Justin Ryan's brand management in our shop was working great, SPoTlight Productions was killing it with worldwide events, the staff was hyped, and I proudly cheered to my partners (Clements, Schaefer, and Porpe) about how excited I was about 2013 coming to continue it all together.
January 1, 2013: Schaefer informs me he has decided to fire Ryan Clements and it was happening the next morning. As if that wasn't shocking enough, he also informed me that he was getting rid of Jorge. Wow. My first reaction was "Okay, we'll make this work, Skatepark of Tampa is my life." Shortly after, I came to my senses and told myself I'll give this six months of dedication to SPoT before I make any decisions on my future.
March 12, 2013: Ryan's first child, daughter Sloane, was born.
Over the next few months, nearly every single event SPoTlight Productions was hired to do in the last decade was lost. First, the good folks at the happiest place on earth running Copenhagen Pro went with Clements and left SPoT behind. Then it was one after another: Vans/US Open in Huntington, Empire Backyard Party in Montreal, and even events organized by non-skateboarders like Maloof Money Cup/Kimberley Diamond Cup all went away. An entire production company that Clements and I owned 2/3rds of was destroyed overnight by a decision we had no say in. All that was left was our own events, the Damn Ams. What an insane customer exodus.
During this time, Porpe and Clements did contract work for CA Productions while I still worked at SPoT. They helped organize and run the global X Games and smaller contest series like Transworld's CUT.
June 28, 2013: My wife and I discussed names for a new company/brand. At that point I was serious about quitting. We settled on The Boardr. I registered the domain and all the social media property.
July 2, 2013: I went to break the news to Schaefer, which he guessed before I could tell him. He offered me stuff to stay, but my mind was made up. Lep Stewart, General Manager for a short time, was in the room and heard a pretty heavy conversation. I was still in such disbelief and denial at what happened that I ended up quitting with no real plans. I figured I would write a scoring system app and help people run their events with that and then go from there.
July 2, 2013: That same day, I went straight to Ryan and Jorge's house for high fives and to get straight to figuring stuff out. I wasn't sure if I'd need to get a job or what. We decided we would take The Boardr, divide up ownership, and make it our new production company run alongside Excel Management, Ryan's company that he started a few years ago to help pros manage their responsibilities. No one was going to get jobs. We were all going to create our own again.
July 5, 2013: I broke the news to the industry.
July 23, 2013: The folks running Assemble Detroit hit us up to be the skateboarding organizers for their summer 2014 event they're putting together to replace the lost bid for the X Games to come to their city.
July 31, 2013: My last day at Skatepark of Tampa. It was time to go full steam on The Boardr and rebuilding.
August 4, 2013: The Boardr continued to run Copenhagen Pro for the 7th year.
August 5, 2013: Went to the X Games and planted a seed.
August 12: 2013: The first invoice for The Boardr is issued for an event that needs to remain under wraps for now. The startup officially has revenue!
September 12, 2013: Went public and told our friends and the industry about The Boardr, launched the site, and continued our plans to create new events and pick up all the pieces from SPoTlight Productions in shambles, with the help of Jason Rothmeyer, Paul Zitzer, Mike Sinclair, Neal Hendrix, and Brittany.
September 16, 2013: Reached epic proportions of success with Frontside Grind Magazine when I got a legal letter from Skatepark of Tampa's lawyer demanding I turn it over to them. Someone actually took that seriously. Mind. Blown.
September 29, 2013: Went to South Africa to continue running the renamed Kimberley Diamond Cup as contractors with our friends at CA Productions.
November 1, 2013: Started planning for Go Skateboarding Day at the Lakeland Skatepark with the Smithsonian and Polk Museum of Art.
November 2, 2013: Went to Atlanta to help YMCMB make a decision.
November 12, 2013: The Fun Fun Fun Fest organizers in Austin, Texas hired us to help with their event.
November 13, 2013: Opened up use of The Boardr Live to select contest organizers to use.
November 15, 2013: Started #skaterboifridays.
skaterboys and stoner boys are my weakness come here and kiss me pls— princess willow (@LILWILLBASEDGOD) November 15, 2013
November 19, 2013: We officially started payroll. Bob Freeman, formerly the head of online and customer service at Skatepark of Tampa, joined Porpe, Clem, and I as the first four employees.
November 19, 2013: Clements and I have owned a portion of Damn Am since it's inception. Schaefer had a slight case of bid'niss amnesia and forgot this basic fact, so we had to get tax returns, articles of incorporation, contracts, and other documents and hand them to a lawyer to politely remind him. We then sold Damn Am to him and are in the place we set out to be: 100% free and clear from anything business related to Skatepark of Tampa or Damn Am. We are simple spectators of that place like you now and wish our friends still working there the best. SPoTlight Productions was officially dissolved as a corporation on the same day that we wrote our first payroll checks with The Boardr.
November 30, 2013: I am thick in the work of building our custom POS, inventory management, and customer service systems. We have solidified our plans to return to retail.
December 5, 2013: Thanks to all our industry friends in town that joined us at The Boardr BBQ.
December 10, 2013: Started the Throwforward Tuesdays feature where we discuss our future plans and certain milestones that happen at The Boardr. Our first post hinted at how we were shopping for warehouses. We had closed on the building just days prior. Thanks Bernie. What a rush that day was. We got straight to demolition work.
December 16, 2013: My first child, son Alvis, was born.
Porpe gets a Guest Ed in The Skateboard Mag where he tells his story about how getting fired from Skatepark of Tampa turned into a great 2013 for him.
December 31, 2013: Just a few months after I quit SPoT, it was clear that I made the right decision and now as we start 2014, I'm confident it was the best decision I've made in my career. We have so much more we're going to do in 2014 that we'll be announcing soon. In the meantime, I'm cranking away at getting us ready for our return to retail. I feel like I'm in competition with myself and all my former work as I try to improve and one-up everything I did in the past. Thanks to everyone in the industry that has opened all these new doors for us.
January 1, 2014: Our Throwforward for this week is our announcement that Justin Ryan is officially employee number five at The Boardr. We worked closely with Justin for several years at Skatepark of Tampa and couldn't be happier that we're reunited with another member of our prior team, making things stronger and stronger on the retail front. Welcome Justin Ryan as our Buyer. He’ll be at Agenda next week working on the first steps to get product in here at The Boardr.
Happy 2014, ya'll. What a year!