Shop Interview: Street Machine

Posted June 29, 2005 by éS

Year shop opened: 1995 in San Diego, but we also have stores in Paris, France and Copenhagen, Denmark. Our Paris store opened nearly 16 years ago. We will be celebrating our San Diego store's 10-year anniversary with some fresh gear and a collaboration shoe with éS, so look out.
Owner's name: Tobia Sloth.
Your name and job title: My name is Brian Kelly, and I manage the San Diego store.
Address: 924 5th Avenue, San Diego, California 92101
Shop hours: Tuesday - Saturday 12:00 noon - 7:00 p.m., Sunday 12:00 noon - 4:00 p.m., Monday closed.
Web site: Street Machine

How's the shop doing?
It's good. We've got downtown San Diego on lock! We are the only shop in the downtown area. Recently, we went through a management change when I took over, so I'd say things are on the up. We are one of the very few shops left that are actually a skate shop, carrying ONLY skateboards. You won't find any surf or snow gear here!

Who is your typical customer?
San Diego is a great city. We get people from all over the place. From local kids that skate around the neighborhood lurking in the shop, to military guys that pull into port to pick up their Bam deck, to fashion heads looking for some fresh new gear, or sneaker heads trying to cop the latest new SB Dunk. During the Summer, we get a lot of tourists coming through.

Do you have any interesting shoplifting stories?
Well the OG founder of our San Diego store is from Paris, where shop lifting is a sport, so he really got a kick out of spotting potential lurkers and confronting them right on the spot, red-handed. He also used to take Polaroids of the perpetrators and featured them on a wall of shame! Classic stuff!

I remember a funny one that happened right when I first started working here. We used to have a pile of shoes in the back of the shop that were on sale. These two kids were looking at 'em while I was busy up front on the computer, and my old boss was in the back near them. Well, they headed out of the store, and my boss ran out after them. I was like "What's going on?" I ran outside, but no one was in sight.

I stood there for a few minutes until my boss came walking back up the street with a backpack in one hand and a kid in the other. He threw the backpack on the counter, sat the kid down on the éS bench and zipped open the backpack. He pulled out a pair of shoes and slammed them on the counter and stormed up stairs. Then I told the kid, "You fucked up now!" He was trembling.

My boss came back downstairs and told the kid to take out his wallet and take off his shoes, which he did. My boss gave the kid back his bus pass from his wallet and told him, "If you want your backpack, wallet or shoes back, tell your mom to come pick them up." The kid left the shop in his socks! I wonder what he told his parents, because nobody ever came to pick up his stuff.

Do you get any crazy people coming in off the street?
Man, we're downtown, so all kinds of crazy people come inside. It kind of sucks when some of the crazies that come in are old pro skateboarders that I used to look up to as a kid. One time this crazy pirate-type homeless guy with tats from head to toe decided to set up shop in the front of the store with left-over carpet and nasty foam pieces. He posted a big sign that read "Everything $5". When I asked him to pack it up and leave, he became all enraged and menacing and busted out a huge butcher knife. We had to call the police to sort it out, as it became a dangerous situation. Just another day at the office, you know!

Which are the most popular skate videos currently playing in the shop?
That Larelle Gray sponsor me tape is HOT! Larelle Gray videos are always good. Jimmy Carlin and Kellen James, too.

Do you do any special events (video premieres, signings, demos)?
We just had another one of our open skate jams. We try to hold one every three or four months. During the Summer, its harder to get permits for that stuff, so we collaborated with everybody in our community for Go Skateboarding Day, June 21. We had a big event at Chula Vista Skatepark.

Do you have any future events coming up?
Our next skate jam will be near the end of Summer, but there's no exact date set yet. Check Street Machine for further details.

Are there any skateparks nearby?
Washington Street is the closest one. There is a good one in Logan Heights called Memorial Skatepark.

Do you have any shop team riders?
Kellen James, Larelle Gray, Jimmy Carlin, Lenny Rivas, Jacob Walder, Nick Tucker, Gabe De La Mora, Cody Carlin, Mike Magawyi.

Do you have any riders who are on éS rep flow?
Larelle Gray.

What's the best part of running a skate shop?
I've been skating for more than half my life. To be able to make a living in skating is my dream come true. It's also a great place to build and support the local scene, promote local talent and take them to the next level, like Lenny Rivas, who is now on DGK.

Which éS shoes sell the best in your shop? Why?
The Accel. It's one of the best skate shoes of all time. Also, the Accelerate with the System G2 Full Impact™ is probably the most functional skate shoe ever!

What's the best part about éS?
The style, baby! The style! And the System G2™.


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