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Eric Blanding is an avid golfer, skateboarder and co-founder of Michigan skate store Premier. Located in Grand Rapids, Premier is arguably one of the best sneaker spots in the country, stocking a selection of exclusive styles selection for the area. A skater since he was 10, Eric is now a 35-year-old Marketing major with heavy retail background. After graduating from college in 1999, he spent two years working in the e-commerce industry as a sporting goods buyer and website merchandise planner in the Silicon Valley. ”After the bubble burst, me and my business partner Josh Higginson were inspired to open a skate shop back in our home state of Michigan that resembled components of what we saw in the San Francisco area.”
Premier opened in June 2001 as one of the first skate shops in the Midwest to have a clean presentation and the pair started to bring new brands to the area. As time elapsed and the setup grew, their product mix expanded well beyond a skate shop into two stores of about 6,000 square feet — now a full premium skate shop and a boutique selling sneakers and apparel. Along with the physical stores, Premier has also developed into a well-loved online spot for lifestyle goods backed by some of the best presentation and service. “With all the evolution, we still try to focus on only carrying brands and products that we personally endorse and believe in.” Products like the ones included in this installment of Essentials.