Owner/Mgr.: George Johnston/ Manager Jason Watson
Number of storefronts: 1
Square footage: 3200
Location: 3566 Mt. Diablo Boulevard, Lafayette, Calif.
Well-known industry vet George Johnston moved his family from their long-time post in SLC back in 2000, relocating to the Bay Area. Johnston, who worked side by side with Milosport SLC founder Benny Pelegrino, had every intention to open a second location for the specialty boardshop upon arrival.
“Basically, I grew up in the bay area and after working for years at the Milo in SLC and doing the whole Utah thing, I decided it was time to bring some Milo to the bay,” says Johnston. “I felt like there really wasn't anything like what we were doing here.”
Nearly fourteen years later, the shop has established itself in the region and is making major strides as one of the only stores around that puts emphasis on an educated staff and creating a meaningful buying experience: “Buying product should be an experience, not just the click of a button,” the website states.
We talked with Johnston recently to get caught up on Milosport Lafayette. Plus, take a quick tour of the shop right here.
How would you describe your shop? What do you think you're best known for?
A specialty chill board shop. I hope we are best known for being genuine and honest, and always trying to educate the customer and get them on the right products.
How many employees do you generally have at one time?
How do you recruit, train, and retain good employees?
We usually recruit from existing customers. As far as retaining them, I try my best to take care of them and have always been pretty flexible on making the schedule around everyone's schedule. We hope they already get what we are trying to do, but it is basically on the job training. I know we could do better at training, but then it would seem more corporate.
What have been some key milestones in the shop's history since you opened?
Making it through the first year. I never really had my doubts. I think you get what you give and we always try to give our best.
Do you have an online storefront (e-commerce)?
Not really a huge fan, but we are slightly moving there. Look for milosportca.com soon.
Do you operate a private label brand?
We do Milo apparel, it is more marketing then money. We try to support our vendors, unlike some chains who advertise and then fill the store with private label stuff. I just don't get why vendors support that.
Name the top three reps that service your store and what makes them special.
Chris Wilmoth is our best rep. He truly cares about our business and has a very high moral compass. He is not a schister!
Avery Clough is on it and always follows through.
Tim Clayton. He’s a hard worker, and is always trying to make both of us more money!
What's one key lesson that you've learned through running this business?
You truly get what you give!
What is your top concern for your business and/or the industry as a whole right now?
That the internet will takeover and people will not have any social skills!
What makes you optimistic about your business and/or the industry right now?
There seems to be concern finally from snow brands, especially seeing people like SnoCon quit. Some snow retailers are just getting over it. If they all leave, well the snow sports industry is screwed.
What are the standout events that you host or programs that you run for consumers?
Movie premiers are always a good time, as far as sales go, I think midnight madness sales are fun, and good for business.
Do you expect your business to grow over the next year?
I sure hope so, the comps are not that great.
Are you currently considering expanding or opening a second location?
We may do something in the next summer.
Last specific moment that really made you love your job?
Everyday is a new day, and I love snowboarding and skateboarding. I also love the relationships that form in a store like ours.
Do you sponsor a shop team? Who are some of your standouts?
We do have a strong skate team Justin Felix is killing it as well as Kevin Reynolds