Shop Talk with Brick & Mortar

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"I'll never put anyone's trucks on backwards. I'll never give someone a shitty grip job. - Hondo. Photo: Chris Swainston

In case you haven’t noticed, SLC is growing massively. I’ve been told that the new Zion metropolis rising in downtown is the biggest uprise in the country right now. A new restaurant and coffee shop pop up every month, but what about a legit skate shop in the downtown area? It’s not that I don’t have tons of love for all the shops I’ve grown up with (Milo, Saltys, Blindside, Technique) it’s just that I don’t want to drive all the way to 21st or 33rd just for a sheet of grip. We’ve had a few attempts, but they’ve never stuck around––too much die-cut grip is my guess. There is a time for everything, and I think the time is now for SLC’s first ever skate-only shop. The task is being tackled by a man with one name: Hondo. He opened the doors of Brick & Mortar (561 W 200 S) on July 31. It’s a fresh lookin’ shop, but don’t get confused, it’s not FICE in there. Hondo says, “The way I see it, I can’t sell a pair of pants for $200 when that’s 20 hours of work or half of someone’s rent.” You’re only going to find useful skate products in this shop. I rolled over to Brick & Mortar to get the low down on the shop and how Hondo thinks he’ll fare as a skate-only shop in a state whose slogan was once: “The greatest snow on earth.”

SLUG: Let’s start with why you wanted to start a shop in the middle of a recession.
Hondo: I’ve always wanted a shop. I finished college and I was like, you know what, there is no better time to start a shop here in Salt Lake where it’s cheap and there is a good skate scene. The skate scene here is huge, but it’s so scattered—I just felt like there needed to be a central location.

: What’s going to be different about your shop that will make it last?
Hondo: There are no snowboards, first of all. It’s just skateboarding in here. I’m a skate shop that carries skateboards and cares about skateboarding. I think there are enough people here that feel the same way. I want to buy my skate products from a skate shop ... I’ll never put anyone’s trucks on backwards. I’ll never give someone a shitty grip job. I’ve grown up with skateboarding for 14 years. I know what it’s like to be stoked on a skate video and want to skate your favorite pro’s board just because you’re stoked on him.

SLUG: What are some things you’re going to do that’ll make your shop unique compared to the others?
Hondo: I just got my projector so I’m going to try and have monthly video premiers. Weekly games of skate every Friday at 7pm. Hopefully some art shows with local skate-related artists and I want to get a big collection of skate videos to rent like a Blockbuster where you can rent your favorite skate video for three days.

SLUG: How do you think our six months of winter will affect you as a skate shop?
Hondo: If they can do it in Boise, we can do it here. You can pretty much skate here all year round if you really want to. Also, having video premiers in the winter and still doing events that keep people skateboarding. Winter’s going to be a test, but we’ll get to that when it comes.

SLUG: One thing you’ve made a strong point about is that Brick & Mortar is a raw skate shop that doesn’t carry the gimmicky skate goods. What are some of the brands you’ve chosen to bring in that supports that?
Hondo: With all the hard goods, I brought in all my favorite brands: Blueprint, a company out of London; Traffic, ‘cause of how they represent street skating. I’ve always loved Stereo, Death Wish, Krew, Venture and Indy trucks. With the clothes and shoes, it’s a lot of the basic stuff like Elwood, Matix, Lakai, DVS. I don’t carry any of that limited edition stuff. I just want to stay strictly skateboarding. We’re not in LA and we’re not in New York.

: It’s been short and sweet, but that seems to cover it. Any last words?
Hondo: I just need to get people into the store. I swear kids can’t read anymore––the Utah education system is failing us. I pass out flyers to kids and they can’t find the address written in big numbers and letters at the bottom of the flyers, 561 W 200 S.