Reviving the Lubbock Skateboarding Scene: Interview w/ Proletariat Skate Shop Owner, Mitch Tibbet

Here at Shred Social, we love to introduce you to local skate shops around Texas and beyond. This week, I caught up with 23 year old Texas skater and shop owner, Mitch Tibbet out of Lubbock, Texas. His shop is called Proletariat Skateboarding Company and it serves a community of boarders who lost their original, core shop some years ago. As you’ll soon learn in my interview below, Mitch is now reviving Lubbock-skateboarding scene and he’s fueling that fire with a committee and his own skate shop.

Tell me a little bit about yourself and how you originally got into skating.

My name is Mitch Tibbit I am 23 years old from Lubbock, Texas. I stepped on a skateboard for the first time when I was around 7 years old however, it wasn’t until I was 11-12 when I got hooked and really started skating a bunch and trying to learn tricks.
— MT
Boardslide 16

Boardslide 16

What made you decide to open up a skate shop? I noticed the shop had an interesting name as well. Where did that come from?

Skateboarding has always had a prominent foothold here in Lubbock. Unfortunately, in recent years some events took place that really affected the scene causing it to decline. It started with a longtime core skate shop closing its doors after many years of being open and was then followed by the local indoor skate park shortly after. The effect was devastating to everyone in the community, as for myself it tore me apart. It was a place I had spent my entire childhood and early part of my adult life.

It wasn’t until about summer of 2016 when I decided it was time for a change. I started brainstorming on ways to construct a new skatepark, one that would endure for a very long time. Of course, something like that can be very costly, so starting a skateboard company and working my way up seemed like a good start. I enlisted the talent of my older brother Trey Tibbit and together we went straight to work. Trey has worked for many years as a skilled graphic designer and is the one who created the iconic Proletariat “P” logo as well as artwork for many of our graphics. My brother is also a vinyl record connoisseur and he sells new and vintage vinyl in the shop. The vinyl sales really complement our skate business.

We have also had the privilege to use several other local artists for our deck designs as well. The operation started very small with just a stack of boards, some shirts, and a few stickers. Before we had the brick and mortar location I was selling gear out of my truck, making deliveries to friends and whoever else needed parts. We would also help sponsor events in and around the Lubbock area such as Go Skate Day events in Plainview, Texas and the grand opening of the skate park in Dimmit, Texas as well as many others. These provided great opportunities to push some product.

We were fortunate enough with our success that we were able to invest in a trailer that we then converted into the “Proletariat Mobile Skate Shop” this upgrade allowed us to make setting up on the fly much easier and carry more gear that we could then provide to consumers, all thanks to the extra space the trailer granted us. The name Proletariat stands for the “working class”.

I was raised by working-class parents that taught me about hard work at a young age and instilled in me that “an idea is only as good as how much you believe in it, and how willing you are to put in the work to make it happen.”

To me, Proletariat is the embodiment of that sentiment, and because of the words provocative history, it has proved very effective in getting folks to take notice in a conservative West Texas city like Lubbock. And in my opinion, it is exactly what skaters are best known for: provoking others to take note and pay attention.
— MT
Mitch’s Mobile Skate Shop

Mitch’s Mobile Skate Shop

Do you guys have a skate team and if so, who's all on it?

Currently, there is not a skate team, but I hope to start one in the future!
— MT

What were/are some of the biggest obstacles you ran/run into while opening and maintaining the shop?

The main obstacle occurred before the company was even started. I was told, “skateboarding in general (skate shops, skateparks) cannot make money in Lubbock.”

Starting at square one and being really excited about starting something new, upon hearing this it really took a toll on my psyche and made me second guess myself. Thankfully I had a mission and I wasn’t about to let naysayers diminish what I wanted to make happen.

As far as daily challenges go, running a skate shop is a lot of work! The main obstacles are adapting to change and trying to make smart decisions such as determining what product should be stocked and whether or not it will sell. There’s nothing more frustrating than stocking an item and watching it sit there for months before it even sells.
— MT
Front of the shop

Front of the shop

Some of the awesome shop deck designs

Some of the awesome shop deck designs

What are your future goals for the shop and do you have any upcoming events?

Right now just continue to grow the shop while working towards building the skate scene. Last October me and Trey started the Lubbock Skatepark Committee. It is a volunteer-based organization which focuses on improving the conditions of skateparks in Lubbock by promoting others to lead by setting a positive example such as keeping litter picked up, discourage acts of vandalism and setting a good example for the skaters of tomorrow.

We have held clean-up events in the past and are currently working towards raising money to facilitate the installation of a second set of lights at Mcalister Skatepark, which is one two facilities that Lubbock has to offer.

The main goal for the Committee is to pave the way for the city to construct another outdoor park while promoting all action sports as a healthy activity for individuals of all ages.

As far as events go we will be sponsoring the Freedom Jam being held on March 9th at RTD Skatepark in Midland, Texas! Open to all ages, registration will start at 11 AM and the contest will begin at 1PM.
— MT
Photo of everyone at the cleanup for Stubbs skatepark

Photo of everyone at the cleanup for Stubbs skatepark

I admire Mitch and his mission. It’s not often you see a 23 year old with their own business, a committee, and the will to make their community, (and the environment) a better place. I love the idea of park clean ups and I can’t wait to see the skateboarding scene grow out in Lubbock, Texas. Also, their shop deck designs are some of the best I’ve seen!

If you’d like to support Mitch and his shop, products can be purchased in person at the store located at 3312 Flint Avenue Lubbock, Texas or online at their website below. I’ll leave some social links as well so you can follow their journey.

As a side note, be sure to check out their amazing artists on Instagram: @harrisonbucy @doomtripper @dirkfowler and @toshiahumphrey1111 

Mitch also wanted to give a shout out to Marwan Humphrey for filming awesome clips, Dustin Wells at @carmeltones for the support and @tonymaples for taking stellar skate photos.