We were saddened to learn on Friday July 25, 2014 that after 24 years, Seattle’s longtime core action sports retailer SnoCon is closing its doors. It is a northwest snowboard institution whose influence on the sport and core retailing will be missed greatly industry wide. Founder John Logic, notified staff on Friday that their final work day would be the following day, Saturday July 26.
Tough retail conditions are largely to blame according an email from Logic, “[SnoCon] tried to get right for five years, after 17 golden ones, but they couldn’t right the ship,” he said. “Even an upside down boat will float. It’s just not much of a party cruise, ya know?”
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The shop, which got its start as Snowboard Connection in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood in 1990, has been a dominant force in the Northwest snowboard scene since its inception. With the help of Logic’s wife, Lisa Bessolo, key employees, and riders Dan Donnelly, Nick Perata, Shawn Farmer, Jim Hale, and Matt Goodwill hanging out in the original shop’s “Pro Lounge,” Snowboard Connection was an integral spot during the foundation of Northwest snowboard culture.
Thanks to Logic’s tell-it-straight personality, heartfelt generosity, and a liberal stash of beer in the fridge, the shop grew grassroots style along with the sport of snowboarding. Eventually, the original location was traded for a warehouse spot up the street off of Yesler Way just under the Viaduct and across from the Ferry Terminal. There, in spite of the location’s multiple parking woes, the shop gained in notoriety and slowly grew in size. The late 90s and early 2000s, saw SnoCon expand from a small core snowboard and skate store with a few T-shirts into a legit four season shop with full offerings in men’s and women’s softgoods. In the late 2000s, Logic brought in longtime employee Adam Gerken as a partner and the shop moved uptown closer to Lake Union and also opened a second location on across Lake Washington in Seattle’s suburb of Bellevue.
In a market that has seen multiple core shops close their doors, SnoCon is sadly just another victim of a changing marketplace. But for the many people (us included) who found a family amongst the stacks of snowboards or on one of the shop’s notorious week-long employee snowboard trips—it is the end of an era. It is a shop that created and helped to nourish an entire community. Sno Con’s ability to act as both a homing beacon and gathering place will sorely be missed by snowboarders and skateboarders far and near.
“Hey ya’ll. The grand ship Sno Con is sadly going the way of other awesome core retail stores before us,” said Lisa Bessolo, Logic’s wife and business partner in a series of Facebook posts on the shops’ final day. “Hard to compete in this market, but our gratitude and happiness for so many great times in our shop and on the mountains of Washington, Idaho, Montana, and Colorado are etched in our minds forever … It doesn’t end here. We are connected to each other thru a tight culture that changed our lives drastically. We left Los Angeles and came to Seattle and found our family here. We had no idea what we were doing except that we loved snowboarding and everyone else who did. Passion first. Go big or go home. We love all of you and that won’t change. Thank you for being so fucking loyal and awesome. We feel lucky to have been part of an awesome and progressive sport and culture that thrives and grows daily. Xoxoxoxo.”