What Have I Been Up To? Part 1 - The Train Has Left The Station

What Have I Been Up To? Part 1 - The Train Has Left The Station

Well hello there my much neglected, but never forgotten, email subscribers and blog readers. We’ve been quite busy at PILLLAR over the past 12 months, thus the delay between writings. I suppose it’s time to bring you all up to speed on what I’ve been up to.

It was a warm May 2021 morning, in St. Paul at Palace pop-up skatepark where I met Brad Hay for an early morning session. Like most times when I skate with Brad, we ended up talking more than skating, and I’m always good with that. The conversation drifted over many different topics when we finally landed on future plans for our respective companies. Brad with ReGenerate Wood and me with PILLLAR. I love these conversations because they allow for your mind to run wild with ideas and dreams which can hopefully one day become reality.

I talked about this idea that I had been carrying around for a while about starting a cafe/skateboard shop for PILLLAR and finished by saying “maybe someday.” When Brad quickly and emphatically replied, “you have to do it!”

The next day I started browsing the internet for commercial real estate.

Knowing nothing about commercial real estate and even less about what it takes to open a coffee shop, I had no idea what was in store for me next.

I found, what I thought, was the perfect location for this new endeavor and I began the process of working with the landlord on signing a lease. I drew up a business plan, put together a budget (what the fuck do I know about budgeting for this kinda thing?), applied for a business loans, found an architect. I’m already in over my head, but this train had left the station.

About 4 weeks of haggling with the landlord over my business plan, negotiating on what improvements he would cover on the space versus what I would have to pay for and discussing financing, I knew this pairing was not a match made in tenant/landlord heaven. After a particularly contentious meeting, I made the decision that I had to move on. I could not continue to work with him.

On my drive home, which was rerouted down Central Ave in Northeast Minneapolis, due to construction, I drove past a freshly painted black building with a “For Lease” sign hanging proudly in the window. I pulled over, pushed my nose up to the glass to see a much neglected office space, which had all the potential in the world, and took down the phone number on the sign.

Three days later I met the leasing agent and as I walked through the narrow hallways, pulled up corners of cheap carpet and popped up sections of the discolored drop ceiling, in my head, this was already my space.


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