Milosport is the "local shop" to the nth degree. I grew up in Contra Costa county and I so wish this shop had been around when I was a kid, but better late than never. The experience that nailed the idea that I wanted to give this shop props on the blog was as follows. I had purchased some Jay lays and rode them pretty lightly for like 3 weeks and they began to give up the ghost. I hopped the Bart and smashed over to Milo to get some more sneakers, I kinda have a thing for shoes. When I got there I did some browsing and Jason the general manager was helping me and A. gave me some half cabs at a discounted price and B. took my Jay lays and sent them back to vans and got me credit for another pair. Man, those kind of experiences are few and far between these days and just make me feel all warm and fuzzy. Long live Milosport!! Jason took a few moments to field some questions and give us a view into the mind of a great small business.
C: Your name and occupation.
J: Jason Watson – Store Manager
C: Can you give me a little background on Milo as a company?
J: Milsport started in 1984 in SLC Utah. George, who is the owner of Lafayette location ran that store for 12 years before moving back to California with his family in early 2000. He then opened this store and it has been running strong ever since. Milo is not a franchise, Joe Shmo can’t buy into it. It is just friends from all over that make up a huge family.
C: How did you guys decide on Lafayette as a location for a shop?
J: George grew up in Danville. Before signing the papers to this location he actually was trying to get the location of what was then “The Shop” and now “Skate Works”. In hindsight we are very glad we didn’t get that location and we did get this one. The community here really supports us and does their part to make sure we stay here.
C: As far as I can tell you guys have a pretty loyal following out in Contra Costa county, why do you think that is?
J: We make sure people buy the right product. More so on the snow side of things. Product differs a lot in Snowboarding and people often think they know what they want , even though it is not right for them. As a specialty retailer, it is our job to educate people on what they are buying. At a big box store they just point you in the direction of what they have the biggest stack of. We want to be the opposite of them.
C: It looks to me like you have all the board sports covered...does that lend itself to fairly good numbers all year long?
J: Well, we only do Snow and Skate, so winter is the busiest time. Summer is steady but mellow. The business is in good shape. But at the same time we aren’t greedy and we all drive shitty cars if you know what I mean.
C: Business philosophy overview?
J: As I said before, it’s all about educating the consumer so they can make the decision of what they need and don’t need. We want them to feel like they are making the right decisions. Basically being honest and providing a knowledgeable staff, the rest is easy.
C: How do you feel about large corporations infiltrating what has kinda been a cottage industry so far?
J: I hate it.
However, I believe the recession is going to be good for specialty stores. All the box stores are hurting very bad and board sports make up a small portion of what they sell. So when they cut the fat off their business they are cutting dollars from stuff we carry. So when the dust settles, the right people will still be here.
C: Does Milo involve itself in community events?
J: We do video premieres from time to time. We usually do a Snow premiere in October and try to do skate ones from time to time. We also donate stuff for the local school auctions. We try and give back to the community when we have an opportunity. Our community is what keeps us here and we appreciate it every time they support specialty rather than heading to the local mall.