“You need to open a store.”

It almost felt like a dare.   I sat in my living room with Bobby and my girl friend Sarah on one side of the room our friend J.R. on the other side.

J.R. repeated, “Your next move is to open a store.  Unless it is making you a million dollars cancel what ever you are doing tomorrow and find a store front.”

Looking back I really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into.  I had built a few skateboard ramps in my life and at 6 years old I watched my dad do drywall.  We were standing in the front door of 1000 SQ/FT of store front 24hours before the lease was officially signed with a few tools, some herbal medicine and a crudely drawn store layout I drew on a piece of graph paper less than 16 hours previous.  It was 72 hours after our conversation with J.R.

For the next four weeks the Blasfamily would live in this space.  Bobby and I would average 20hrs to 22 hrs a day in the space located at 1923 East Carson.  Sarah, Uncle Arlo and Ian would spend ever spare second they had by our sides with tools in hand.  Our friend Jared was kind enough to lend us any of the tools we needed and would stop through and give us a crash course in what ever construction skill we were lacking.   I truly believe that the Blasfamily can do anything and we were about to put that to the test.  The plan to was to rehab the entire store front in less than a month and have the Grand Opening Party on May 28th and it was April 27th.

We began working a a frantic pace.  Old floor was scraped up in 3hrs.  We would hold this pace for four weeks.  We were working so quickly that at some point we actually had to slow down to give the joint compound time to dry.  The Family’s determination never faltered.

Bobby and a ladder took a ride down the wall and were saved by a Dewalt Tools Boom Box and Uncle Arlo’s chop saw.  Three inches further and Bobby would be in a cast while I write this.

Unfortunately there are only so many close calls you can have before your card comes up and it was Ian’s card that came up.  On his way to the store he got hit by a car on his bike.  What initially appeared to be a sprained ankle turned out to be a really badly broken foot.  I’ve actually lost track of how many surgeries he has had.  Its a damn shame he missed the grand opening his dedication was unwavering.  He was literally calling me from the scene of the accident laying on the ground telling me he wasn’t going to make it to the store.

We had plenty of visitors.  Our friends Ace and Rog would stop through daily to keep our spirits up and bring food and supplies.  All Evan Sanders wanted to do was paint and shoot photos.  He begged me to paint for four days.  When he finally got the chance he chanted “I got hard in the paint” and then quickly stepped down from his job painting after slopping some black paint on the white wall saying “He removed himself from his position.”

The neighborhood was awesome.  Curious what we we working on at all hours of the day.  We answered a million questions and were greeted with glee when they found out we weren’t another bar or tattoo shop.  It feels good to be a part of the SouthSide.  We love it here.

Our landlord Carmine would stop in almost daily to check out our progress.  He would share advice with us any chance he got.  He even went so far as to buy us Benjamin Moore Paint for the front of the store and stage.  I can only imagine what he thought when our motley group of misfits invaded his building with a bunch of power tools and a dream.  I can’t thank him enough for the faith he had in us.

Its funny the things you overlook.  Garbage for example.  Construction creates trash at a rate I couldn’t fathom.  By the time you’re done feeding four or five people you’ve already filled one can and you haven’t even done any work.  Thankfully our friend Bill was able to haul it away for us.  Once a night we would throw countless garbage cans into Bill’s garbage truck and he would drive it off to the dump for us.

My brother Mike primered the ceiling for us one night.  That same night a Navy Seal Team killed Osama Bin Laden.  I know because under the paint on the walls there’s at least five tags related to the event.

Somethings will never come on time.  Most likely it will be the special order part that is the most important piece in of the entire build.  In this circumstance the acrylic rods that would eventually hold the clothing were late not only once but, twice.  Bobby was so angry Sarah and I had to stop him from stealing someone’s shoes from the supply house where they came from.

Any trip to pick up supplies will always take two or three times as long as  you think it will and you will always need at least twice the amount of supplies you initially planned for.

Its hard to put the entire project into words.  To everyone that helped us out thank you.  There are too many of you go to into detail.  Please know that we appreciate you and everything that you did.  With out our friends and families this would be nothing.  If you dropped off beer, smoked a joint with us, lent us a tool or advice.  We are forever thankful.   The video below is a tribute to all of you.  The pictures were shot by the Blasfamily during the build out.

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