Mike's Open Road
Mike Olson Highlight (2:30)
I ended up making a deal with this old retired lady; she had an old race-horse barn. My rent was mowing the lawn and cleaning her gutters, and that was my first shop.
- Met his co-founder, Pete Saari, in his junior year of high school.
- He'd made snowboards in his shop class; because there were no major snowboard stores in his area, he'd started making them for friends.
- In college, he and Pete started scheming, trying to figure out how they could drop out and start making boards full-time.
- Once Mike got his mother's blessing, he quit school.
- Struck a deal with an older woman-he'd do her housework in order to use her barn as a workspace where he could build boards.
- After Pete graduated, he joined Mike at "the shop"; they decided to name the operation after their mutual friend, Mervin.
- They were a very small operation for a long time, using the commission from one board to build the next.
- Sticking to their company's mission statement-focusing on innovation, manufacturing everything within the U.S.-has led to the team's success.