Industry Profile: Milosport Co-Owner Ben Pellegrino
12 Jul, 2011
Job Title: Co-Owner of Milosport
Employer: Other owners are Todd Mitchell, Calvin Egbert, George Egbert and George Johnston
Years on snow: 26 years on snow
Days of snow: 80-100 days a year (avg 90?)
Currently riding: 09/10 Capita Black Death Inc 156cm, 09/10 DC Devun Walsh 158cm, 10/11 Capita Charlie Slasher 158cm
Currently I am: Staring at this damn computer screen.
Shay: Tell us a little bit about yourself
Ben: My name is Ben Pellegrino. I’ve been snowboarding for 24 years and skateboarding for 27 years. I grew up in Alamo, California, in the Bay Area and moved to Utah when I was 19 years old in 1989-90, then moved back and forth seasonally up until winter of 1992-93 and have been here ever since. I’m no longer from California, I’m a Utah resident! Love it here, haven’t had a reason to leave yet!
Shay: How has snowboarding changed your life?
Ben: Well first and foremost it had me relocate to Utah, so that was the first big change. It has since changed my personal life by being my absolute favorite thing to do (followed closely by skateboarding), nothing beats a good powder day with exhilarating terrain to ride (Baker, Snowbird, Silverton, Jackson). I can think of nothing else I would rather be doing then shredding pow with my lady and close friends! It also changed my life by becoming my job, I have now been involved with Milosport since 1995. So it is now my career and I love it.
Shay: How did you get your start in the industry, who or what opened up more opportunities for you?
Ben: I was living in SLC working up at Snowbird living the life, ride everyday and work at night. But I wanted more, my jobs that I had up at snowbird were always great (night conference banquet clean up/set up, dishwasher, house keeper, waiter, busboy, room service, line, cook, prep cook, pantry cook, bar back) but I didn’t love any of them. I hated how if you had an issue, they would threaten to take your pass away or piss test you, at the time I was smoking a lot of pot and thought that was such bullshit. Now it makes a little more sense to me. Anyway I quit my job up at Snowbird in the spring of 1995. At the time I was living in a basement apartment owned by my childhood friend, George Johnston (current owner Lafayette, Ca store and OG Milo employee), he saw me looking in the want ads and asked me if I wanted a job at Milosport. I jumped at the chance. At the time I was getting from flow from Joel Gomez/Zach Bingham (Sessions/Santa Cruz), had been to Vegas SIA show a couple times and I knew that I wanted to be a part of all that!!
Shay: How has your previous education or work experience helped you in your current job?
Ben: You know pretty much the only education that I had for real that qualified me for this job/career was a hard work ethic and strong passion for skateboarding and snowboarding. George Johnston taught me a helluva alot. I have a lot of friends in this industry, so I can pick up the phone and reach out whenever I have questions or issue that I can’t handle myself, and to tell you the truth the kids that work for me teach me a lot. I don’t know how many times they have helped me out with all kinds of stuff. They are really smart kids, all of them! Don’t be too proud to ask for help!
Shay: Tell us about your role at Milosport and a description of the work you do?
Ben: My role at Milosport is to do all the orders (prebook/restock/etc) and to pay all the bills. It sure is a lot of work but I’m happy that I can focus on this part of the job. Keeping us stocked with the right amount is a very good balancing/juggling act. But it allows my partner Todd to be on the floor at all times which is so nice to have him out there. Nobody helps customers more then one of the owners and that allows the employees to learn a lot of Todd’s knowledge (and stories) and they get updated training everyday!
Shay: What’s an average day like at work for you?
Ben: Well to tell you the truth I’m a desk jockey. I order and pay bills all day and keep up with all the electronic mail/texts/phone calls/Fb messages that are associated with modern communication. But I love it, no complaints here.
Shay: What are some memorable experiences from working in the industry?
Ben: Oh god, the most memorable stuff is all the trips I have been on associated with work. 3 Europe trips, countless trips to Canada, Jackson, Silverton, Mt Hood, Mt Baker, Colorado, southern California, northern California, Tahoe, Gore-Tex Hq in Maryland, Lake Mead houseboat trip, heli shredding, cat shredding, b/c country sledding, splitboard missions, you name it, all of these were in direct correlation with my career! I truly am blessed and I never look a gift horse in the mouth. I try and provide all companies that have helped me out with any feedback they solicit and sometimes (most of the times) I give it to them anyway.
On that note I feel very honored that I get invited to quite alot of round table discussions on future product. I believe I provide valuable knowledge to these designers, sales managers and owners of companies, and I truly appreciate the chance to help them make better selling and performing products!
Shay: What do you think are the biggest challenges that the snowboard industry faces and what changes would you like to see for the future?
Ben: It’s been talked about a lot this year and I hope all the plans have come together, and this plan is for the industry to more closely manage their inventory levels. We need to be really careful about having so much discounted product out there, it ruins margins and causes the new product piles to backup creating a ole logjam of cheap, discontinued, overproduced product that the consumer is settling for. That’s the biggest issue on my mind, on all fronts, shoes, clothing, hardgood, outerwear, etc.
Shay: Education vs Experience…which do you think is more important?
Ben: You know I think that the best education that anybody needs right now is to take as many computer classes as you can, cause you use this damn thing more than any other tool in your store. As far as other skills, I think acctg/quickbooks knowledge is super important and probably the most important thing is to engage your customers, employees, team riders, friends, and community to keep up with trends in your market. Also don’t lose the passion that got you into this industry! Get the fuck out there and shred, too many of the people making decisions in this industry never snowboard but a few times a year. Doesn’t work for me.
Shay: What advice would you give to people wanting to work in the industry?
Ben: Love the activity, work the job, combine both and you’ve got some longevity! As Lizard and Lung always say “Don’t lose the Passion!!!!”
I’m still more in love with the mtns then I have ever been, I am more stoked on skateboarding then I have ever been, I just had one of the best years of snowboarding in my life at 42! I love my life, no complaints from this part of the world.
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