February 7, 2015
Back in 2006 I came back from playing professional soccer in Sweden and had this grandiose idea that Salt Lake City desperately needed a sneaker shop. A grandiose idea that with some amazing help from some key people, actually became a reality. On 10/10/2006 I opened the sneaker and clothing boutique, “10”. I have stories for days.
Without going into detail, here are my “top 10” (1-10, 10 being the best):
A star from High School Musical came in and shopped and I didn’t know who he was until he left and one of my customers told me. (Sorry, Corbin.)
Hours spent drooling over limited edition Nike Footwear catalogs and an unrequited excitement every time the UPS guy walked through the door with boxes tagged with a Nike or Adidas warehouse return address.
Knocking down walls, taking up tile, laying down wood flooring, and putting together Ikea furniture. Turning my vision into my profession.
Testing my detective skills by searching Myspace (yes it was still at it’s peak in ‘06) for the kid that broke in and stole 5K worth of inventory, finding him, telling the cops, and still not having them do anything about it.
Surviving 2 TV interviews, a magazine cover photoshoot, and a few newspaper articles with the angst that lights and cameras cause me.
Privately opening the shop for Kanye West’s band.
Creating a custom sneaker studio in my shop and hiring an amazing artist that ended up hand painting sneakers for TI, Kyle Beckerman, and many others.
The family and friends that worked, shopped, and encouraged me day in and day out—in every way.
My business partner who believed in me enough to give me an opportunity and took on the challenge with me.
Last, is #10. Although the above stories have plenty of details that I could add to them, this is one of the most vivid memories I have from my days of “10” and deserves a much deeper dive. It’s one of those memories that instantly pops up when I think about the shop. You know, the type of memory that you’re pretty sure your brain somehow saved as a photograph so you would never forget it.
My dad always said if he retired he wanted to work at a Home Depot. I can’t explain how much he loved Home Depot. I don’t know if it was because the smell of the pine instantly took him back to his days of derby car building in Wichita, Kansas. Or maybe it was the stacks of half gauge sand paper and endless colors of spray paint that he carefully chose from when building his 11 electric guitars while he was fighting cancer. I never asked him, and now I wish I would’ve. I do, however, know if he had ever applied there, he definitely could’ve been their most overqualified applicant, and he would’ve looked dang good in one of those orange aprons.
Back in September 2006, My dad and I had just returned to “10” from our trip to Home Depot where we had picked up 3 cans of pure white paint.
Picture this: A man who operated on baby’s hearts every single day, doing some of the most complicated heart surgeries in the country, standing on his feet for 8 hours straight, with someone’s child’s heart in his hands—literally. His movements had to be perfect. His focus, uninterrupted and intentional. The impact of his work incomparable. I can’t imagine having the capacity to concentrate flawlessly for 8 hours straight, and my dad did it every single day. And here he is, scrubs on, 8 steps up on a ladder, rolling white paint on the ceiling of his daughter’s 900 square foot sneaker shop. He’d paint as much as he could before climbing down, move the ladder a couple feet, and climb back up —paint splattering down into his hair.
Here was one of the best Pediatric heart surgeon’s in the world putting his time (and muscles) into the store that I had put all my money, sweat, and heart into. He wasn’t there because he had this immeasurable love of sneakers or an insatiable desire to paint ceilings. And he wasn’t there because he totally understood my vision. He was there because he supported me. He was there because he wanted to be a part of me living my dreams.
My dad didn’t always understand my passions. He didn’t always get why I pursued the things I did. But, I always had his support and he still encouraged me and helped me get where I wanted to be, regardless. He loved me unconditionally—one of the best gifts I’ll ever receive.
Is there someone in your life like my dad was in mine? If there is, go thank them. Thank your wife or husband for buying you an office chair so you can pursue your passion of building your own online business from home (without back problems). Thank your brother or sister for lending you their old school tiffany saloon lamp so you can have the perfect ambiance in your retail store. Thank your best friend for bringing you lunch on the days you had a to-do list 3 days long. Thank God for giving you the talents to pursue your passions, but more importantly for gracing your life with the people that help you live your dreams.
Dear Dad, thank you for supporting me even if you didn’t understand me.