VJ: Have you always wanted to own a clothing store?
JP: Well, we started off as a skate park in 1995, and I sold my own clothing from the beginning, but I kept getting sued. I got sued like five times.
VJ: What the heck for?
JP: We were a private indoor skate park and sometimes kids would get injured. That's just a part of skating, but I kept getting sued by parents. The risk was too high and the liability insurance was just too much, plus there is no need for a private skate park anymore since there are so many public ones around. That is how we evolved into the store. We opened up a store in 2000 in the Tower District. Then we moved to Universal Park in 2004.
VJ: How has the location worked out for you?
JP: Universal Park was definitely a good move for us. There, we have a fighting chance.
VJ: Where do you get your gear?
JP: We carry the Sugar Hill label, which is the biggest part of our inventory but we also carry other brands, like Nike SB, Fresh Jive , Obey, Elwood, Gentle Fawn, Von Dutch, Ben Sherman and others that we carry periodically.
VJ: So, do you go to a lot of trade shows?
JP: Yeah, I go out of town at least twice a month. I go to trade shows and I go to the stores that I like to shop at, to see what's available. I like to stay educated.
VJ: Do you personally pick all the stuff that goes in your store?
JP: Yeah. I'm the buyer. I'm constantly on the move looking for new and cool stuff. It's important to me to provide Fresno with an alternative. No one else seems to be.
VJ: You carry a lot of smaller labels also, though, don't you.
JP: Yeah, we are one of the few local stores that feature cool central california labels, like Buddha.
VJ: Who do you think your gear appeals to?
JP: Anyone. Anyone with fresh style frustrated by a lot of the lame crap they're being offered.
VJ: I know a lot of people have mislabeled you as a skate shop.
JP: That's pretty annoying. Anyone who comes in and checks out our store can see what we're really about.
VJ: You have a slick website - can people buy online?
JP: It's Sugarhillrules.com and it's getting reformatted for online shopping. It should be ready in a couple of weeks.
VJ: I think of your store as more of a boutique style store, do you eventually want to have more than one location or do you want to keep it central?
JP: For now we'll stay at one location. I don't think Fresno could support another store. But eventually we would like to expand. Possibly Bakersfield, and then out of state.
VJ: I don't see you doing a lot of advertising.
JP: Sure we do. We've done radio and comcast. And we always do radio spots right before the holidays. But a lot of our success has been just by word of mouth.
VJ: Free time stuff?
JP: I collect sneakers. I used to collect stamps, but it just got out of control. I still skate two to three times a week, and I like to snow board. Plus I do a lot of printing for local companies.
VJ: What do you think of the Skate Park in Orange Cove?
VJ: Favorite movie?
JP: Sin City
VJ: Kind of music you listen to?
JP: What I've always listened to - hip hop, punk, hardcore
VJ: Can you join me in saying the central Valley rocks?
VJ: On your website you have a chick getting a Sugar Hill tattoo on her junk. Is that real?
JP: It's the real thing. She's a soft core porn star, and a real nice girl.
VJ: And is that old dude in the white shirt your dad?
JP: No. I have a couple of older buddies on the site. They both hot rod legends - George Barris and Blackie Gejian
VJ: I saw you have a picture with that guy Eric who ran with the Lords crew, does he do any graphic stuff for you?
JP: The Lords crew is Me, Eric and my buddy Rico. And I work with Eric. I've been on him to take his skills to the computer.
VJ: Anthing else I should know?
JP: Right now we're on winter hours, so we're open 11 to 7 daily. And we've got a bunch of events planned for this year. We're having a tattoo convention april 29th and 30th. March 29th we'll be at the Fresno Autorama, and sometime in late September we'll be hosting a car show on Avenue 12. Also people can check us out on MySpace.
Sugar Hill is located right around the corner from Hooters and My Internet Cafe. And check out pics of the store. See what they have to offer. You'll love it.