We had the good fortune of connecting with Nick Ayala and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nick, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve always had a strong entrepreneurial spirit. When I am passionate about something, I start to collect it. As a child, I learned that sometimes these collections would be valuable. A lot of my peers at the time would hold onto their collectibles, but I would sell my items usually at the peak of their craze. I sold countless items from Pokémon cards to beanie babies, and I have a distinct memory of selling a holographic charizard Pokémon card for $600 in third grade. Always having this entrepreneurial spirit, it felt natural to open up a store to sell what I was passionate about after college.
I went to school at Indiana University in Bloomington, IN. Growing up in rural Indiana, there weren’t a lot of cool shopping possibilities for me in-state so I would have to do a lot of my shopping online or in a close big city. (Chicago) This idea followed me to college and I realized there was an opportunity to have a unique vintage clothing and sneaker store in Bloomington. I went to business school at IU, graduated in 2016 and returned two years later to open up my first store, SLCT Stock, right across from IU’s historic campus. I would bring what I always wanted in college to the current students of Indiana University.
What should our readers know about your business?
SLCT Stock is a vintage clothing store that specializes in the buying, selling and trading of Vintage T-Shirts, Hats, Crewnecks, and other garments. We started out focusing on College towns for our store locations and have two storefronts in Bloomington, IN and Boulder, CO. These are the hometowns of Indiana University and Colorado University. Recently, we opened our third location in New York City in the East Village.
SLCT Stock has always tried to separate itself from the competition by the quality and price of our vintage goods. We take pride in the curation of our store and try to only carry the finest quality clothing that we would actually wear ourselves. The pricing of our items is also very competitive to other big box stores or stores with similar formats.
One of the things I am most excited or proud of is the fact that I have a storefront in my college town of Bloomington, IN. I take great pride in the fact that I went to Indiana University and I am a Hoosier. Having a store there fills me with great joy and I am proud that I can add to the college experience there in Bloomington.
Business wise, we have excelled by being consistent and remaining true to our values. We live our lives to sell vintage clothing and try to share our passion with both our customer base and employees. By remaining true and passionate to this philosophy, I believe our customer base resonates with us and wants to support our mission.
I would like the world to know that cool things and creative people can come out of the Midwest. Being born in Indiana, a lot of my peers lived stationary and secure lifestyles. I wanted to take a risk and get out of my comfort zone. Now we have three stores in three different states, and I think this speaks to our drive and passion for selling vintage clothing at affordable prices.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
So my store is in Boulder, CO so I will give a rundown of both Boulder and Denver. In regards to Boulder for shopping you have to visit three places.
SLCT Stock Colorado- My vintage store located on The Hill across from CU Boulder’s campus. We specialize in 80’s-90’s vintage and you can find something for any age demographic.
303 Boards- If you are a fan of skateboarding check out our neighbor, 303 Boards, located on The Hill. They specialize in skateboarding and have the best gear, skateboarding apparel/shoes, and customer service out there.
Canoe Club- Canoe Club is a speciality menswear store located in Boulder that carries the finest quality brands and clothing in the state. They carry a lot of rare Japanese brands and have the best buy out of the top stores in the U.S.
For breakfast grab a bagel at Rosenbergs Bagels on The Hill. They specialize in new york style bagels and are the closest you can get to a NYC Bagel.
For dinner, my favorite restaurant in town is Izakaya Amu. It is a traditional Japanese restaurant with a ton of fantastic dishes and sushi selections.
In regards to Denver, my favorite coffee shop in the city is Aviano. This is the best way to start a day in Denver. There are two in Cherry Creek and they have one of the best shaken iced espresso drinks I have ever had. Order the Angeleno you won’t regret it!
If you’re hungry for breakfast, Santiago’s makes the best breakfast burritos in the city. The green chile is to die for, and I miss it dearly in NYC.
A great lunch/dinner spot is Uncle. There are two in the city and they have phenomenal ramen, drinks, and small plates. The spicy chicken ramen is a personal favorite.
For dinner, Uchi is my favorite spot in the city. It is a Sushi spot with fusion dishes and has the best take on new age sushi that I have ever had. Highly recommend it!
For shopping, be sure to visit Fourth Place. Miah Richards, owner, has been selling vintage clothing for over a decade and Fourth Place is his brain child. He sells secondhand clothing and has the best quality and taste in the city!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would have to say my Mom, Carol Freeman, is definitely one of my biggest supporters. She was always there for me growing up and pushed me to excel in academics and pursuing my passions. She was hesitant when I told her I wanted to quit my corporate job at Toyota to open up my own clothing store, but she supported me 100% regardless of my decision. She is always in my corner, and I can count on her for anything. Thanks Mom!
Professional photographs by Cayla Spatz