When high-schooler Mike Mahoney made his first skateboard, it was 1977. He designed it in shop class and sold it for $25."It was what I was into at the time," Honey Skateboards founder and owner Mahoney said. "You make what you like."And, luckily, his ever-growing fan base likes what he makes. Sales continue to grow at Grand Junction's own Honey Skateboards, where 50-year-old Mahoney builds 14 types of hand-crafted longboards, with the help of three employees. "We've picked up a big international presence through distributors," Mahoney said. "Local support is phenomenal, too."Boards recently shipped as far as the United Kingdom, Belgium, Sweden, Brazil and Australia, he said, with regional providers found in Boulder, Denver and Evergreen.Locally, Honey boards can be picked up at Traz Snow & Skate, as well as The Bike Shop."Honey's like our bread and butter," said Adam Rubin, a sales associate with Traz Snow & Skate. "We always keep them in stock."While Honey Skateboards traditionally makes 2,000 boards a year, Mahoney also predicts his sales to ramp up over the coming months."We're anticipating 2,500 boards this year, and more next year," he said.
Mahoney said his unique boards are gaining popularity because he's built "a reputation for quality wood-working." He uses "exotic woods and a laminated construction," and his design gives "the look of a solid wood board with the ride qualities of a laminated board."A lot goes into the boards, he added, and every aspect of production is done at his Industrial Boulevard workshop.With continual sales growth expected, Mahoney also said he's searching for a bigger work space."We're pretty tight right now," he said. "That's the next step for us. It's scary and exciting at the same time. ... We've grown every year, which is pretty amazing."Honey longboards generally cost between $100-300, depending on the model. And, all boards are numbered and signed.
Honey Skateboards got its start in California, where Mahoney grew up, worked as a wood-shop teacher and got married.A constant involvement in wood craft production - from furniture production to skateboards - led to Mahoney's first longboard. Built in 1994, he designed it to "mimic the carving sensation he grew to love from snowboarding."Mahoney didn't make another longboard for a decade, however. But, in 2004 he began producing them, "here and there," for friends until his business snowballed. He branded Honey Skateboards in 2005, and then moved his workshop to Grand Junction two-and-a-half years ago."I love Colorado," Mahoney said. "You'd have to drag me away kicking and screaming." Besides being an avid longboarder, Mahoney loves Colorado's numerous recreation options. He also snowboards, mountain bikes and hikes.For more information or to purchase a board, visit www.honeyskateboards.com.