We had the good fortune of connecting with Stacy Falk and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stacy, what do you attribute your success to?
The most important factor behind my success is trust. Trust allows you to be fully creative in your process and live a fearless lifestyle that fuels the success of any endeavor to better the business model. Trust can come in a variety of situations. I trust myself to make big decisions. I trust my staff. I trust my customers and I trust my support team.
My brand is centered around passion. A passion is something so true that it has the ability to erase all stress and anxiety for work life and personal life. Without stress at work, my life outside of work is harmonious and free. And while I live this healthy lifestyle outside of work, my business shines.
This passion also allowed me to open a business in a time where most businesses were crushed. I opened a skate shop during the peak of Covid, in the middle of winter in a small mountain town and in an industry where supply couldn’t meet demand.
Success isn’t fame and money. Success is knowing that you have made a positive impact on other peoples lives.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Ramps and Alleys Skate Shop is simply one of a kind. A series of events led to the creation of this magical place. I lost my job during Covid when non-essential businesses were forced to close. I refused to collect unemployment and I went and got a job at Safeway. I have never worked so hard in my life for minimum wage.
It was an incredible, chaotic and rewarding experience. While working at Safeway, I saw a need for our local youth who had lost their regular activities with the shutdown. I started a variety of roller skate programs for both kids and adults as a way to recreate outside with the ability to follow Covid guidelines. The club gained popularity and I began fundraising. I collected enough money to purchase the Boys and Girls Club roller skates and organized volunteers to teach kids how to skate. Back at Safeway I would roller skate in the store after hours and make hilarious videos that we posted on Instagram. It became a sensation and Rocky Mountain PBS reached out for an interview. When the special aired, the higher ups at the store found out and I was fired shortly after. Around this time, businesses started to reopen and I returned to my previous job. I found it to be boring and meaningless. When an 11-year-old member of the skate club suggested we open a skate shop, I left that job almost instantly.
Manifest. It’s real. I had a vision and I made it happen within two months. Driven by the most determination I’ve ever had in my life, I created a skate shop. At the same time I created a community center focused around skating. With the non- profit status of our Roller Derby team, we were able to apply for grants. We kept getting denied because we didn’t have the data to back our mission even though we were doing exactly what we said were going to do. When we were at wits end, we just happened to be at the right place at the right time and we were awarded a large sum of money from the American Gift Fund to pay for operating costs for a year. With supplemental fundraisers, we could keep everything free for the kids.
I had found a run down 2700 square foot building for rent. When I saw it, I instantly fell in love. It was grungy and funky and full of character. It could fit a skate shop, the club I wanted and an indoor/outdoor skate area. The owners wanted way more than what it was worth for rent. When I explained my vision they reduced the rent by almost a thousand dollars a month. I began working right away. Two good friends volunteered to help me. I worked 12-15 hour days, 7 days a week to open when I said I would. Halloween. And the best part, we had full creative freedom to modify the building. The walls and floors are a constantly changing work of art. We encourage kids and adults to paint on them.
The number one rule of the skate shop is “Be Excellent to Each other”. Clubhouse volunteers were pleasantly surprised to find users of the space upholding this rule and teaching it to others. Users also find it easy to uphold the rule that designates the space as “screen-free”. Clubhouse kids find it easy to stay busy and engaged with each other and with physical challenges
The Ramps and Alleys Clubhouse succeeded in providing Chaffee County youth with a free and safe recreational space that promotes healthy lifestyles and positive relationships. The Clubhouse was designed to complement existing programs by emphasizing inclusivity of all genders, body types, ethnicities, races, religions, socioeconomics and LGBTQ matters.
As for the skate shop…..we survived the first year and sold more skateboards and roller skates than we could have ever imagined. Our inventory has quadrupled. We have expanded into ice skates, snowboards and other winter activities. We are in the process of designing a new building for Ramps and Alleys as we have already outgrown what we have.
People from across the state come to shop and play here. Everyone leaves with a smile and tells their friends. Kids have said this place has become their home.
At the end of the day, I’ve learned that when you care about everything you also care about nothing. Nothing can bother you or upset you. At one point someone broke into the shop and we lost a little money. I was upset but also brushed it off as no big deal. So I lost some money. It will come back in another form and it has. Most business owners might scoff at my lax attitude towards money. If a kid can’t afford a skateboard, I find a way to gift them one.
Some people think I must be rich for how I operate. Little do they know I went personally bankrupt in 2018. I don’t even qualify for a loan from the bank, I have zero assets and my credit is a joke. I started a business with only a $12,000 loan that I received from a caring friend who saw my dreams only being held back by finances.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well….Salida is an interesting place.
I would take them (depending on the seasons) skiing, rafting, skating, camping and all the wonderful outdoor adventures we have to offer.
We don’t have many great dining options haha so we would most likely eat a nice home cooked meal. Our nightlife is pretty dull so we would most likely just play monopoly and drink Modelos.
The most exciting people I know here are skaters. Roller skaters, skateboarders, etc. So we would hang at the park and then throw a skate party at the shop.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate my success to all my friends that refused to give up on me during the darkest and scariest part of my life. They reminded me that anything is possible. I would also give a shout out to the roller derby community for opening my eyes to a world that I never knew existed and sparked my pursuit to follow my dreams. Big shout out to Nick Merchlewitz for building (literal construction) my visions and never questioning them….and putting up with my shenanigans along the way.