What does Blacklist mean to me? It’s more of a lifestyle than just a shop.
Before the shop was even open we had invested blood sweat and beers into its opening. I loved sitting at our apartment looking through catalogs of product and picking out what to carry. We would have huge pieces of paper with to-do lists and who needed to be contacted. Then the next thing I remember is I was having dinner and Nate asked if I wanted to fly to Vegas and go to the SIA industry tradeshow. Those 4 days were some of the most fun I have ever had and couldn’t be happier I got to be a part of the last SIA in Vegas. Meeting with the reps was like a dream come true for me and looking at all the gear for the following snowboard season. That’s like Christmas for a snowboard addict. Once we got back it was in full swing to get the shop ready for opening. We now had access to the building and so we spent hours over there taping out where things would go and then the contractors showed up and started work. Every day after class I would head over to see what was new and help out where ever I could. Things really started flying and the opening was right around the corner.
The days leading up to the grand opening hold a special place in my heart. The shop was still in the construction phase and we were days away from opening the front door. The contractors worked on finishing painting, wiring, installing display cases and getting everything perfect. At the same time they were grinding to get things done we were getting the product ready. It was crazy how much was going on all at once. It came down to the night before opening and I got to the shop around 4 after class. The next 12 hours would be a very special memory I hold very close to my heart. If you saw the shop at that point you would have never thought that it was going to be open the next day at noon. There was still construction going on, no display cases and no product in there. On a steady diet of DP Dough Blacklist zones and Budweiser we would work to make sure everything was perfect. During that night there were many people who would come and help for a while and would see how things were coming but when things were all said and done there were 5 of us that never left. Things started coming together and it was finally starting to look like a shop. After hundreds of shirts were hung, jeans folded, shoes laced, decks hung, and the floor was covered in wrappers and boxes we called it a night… except for Nate. He slept on the floor in the shop that night. The next morning we were right back at it. With only a few hours of sleep we finished the final touches, and the building inspector cleared everything just minutes before the doors were to open. It was finally time to open the doors to Blacklist where people for the next 5 years would come hang out, meet new friends, call each other family, and transform the Greeley skate and snowboard scene forever.
Opening day was a blur. It all happened so fast. The first kids came in the door and the excitement was through the roof. Seeing the looks on their faces and reactions is indescribable. The atmosphere that day was one filled with excitement, pride, accomplishment, community, and stoke for what was still to come.
Looking back over the last 5 years I have hundreds of memories with Nate and Blacklist. I remember the after party on opening day where the only thing that kept us going was the adrenaline from the week leading up to the opening. The feeling of being a part of helping open the shop is one that can only be understood by someone who has helped opened a business. It’s a mix of exhaustion and adrenaline surrounded by perfect chaos. The events that followed were always so much fun and something that I looked forward to and am honored I had the chance to be a part of. Video premiers are always a ton of fun and going to ones in Denver with the shop were good but hosting them at the shop and Jager were way more fun. Seeing the crowds that showed up was awesome. Every summer Blacklist hosted the Summer Slam Series and Nate gave me the chance to be the photographer for these events. Getting to combine my love for photography and the shop was perfect for me. I had the opportunity to go the SIA a few more years with the shop. We would hold bbq’s at the shop, rail jams in the winter, condo nights to go snowboard, release parties, and most importantly a place for people to just come hang out. I could go on forever about the memories I have with Nate and Blacklist.
Nate, I want to say congratulations and thank you. I had the opportunity to live with you for 3 years in college and call you my best friend. Before the shop was even an idea we were good friends and moved in together. From that point on things just continued to grow. We became closer and then the shop started to materialize. I am glad that I met you my freshmen year in NCR and have had the opportunity to share so many good times and memories with you. Even though that last few years we haven’t seen each other tons I still see you as one of my best friends and know you always will be. Thank you for including me in the shop life. I think about the opening all the time and still have the picture on my wall of the 5 of us the night before the doors opened. The memories surrounding the opening are some of my fondest memories ever. Congratulations on 5 years of open doors at Blacklist. You and the shop have touched thousands of people. You gave kids a place to hang out, meet new people, get involved in skateboarding and snowboarding, and built a community around 16th St. Not only are you a role model for me but also countless other individuals. Thank you for all the memories, opportunities you gave me, and for being the best friend I could ask for. I look forward to seeing what life brings your next, making more memories together, and reminiscing about Blacklist.
Thanks for everything and congratulations again Nate.