By Joseph Ditzler • The Bulletin

What: Solstice Supply Co.; Realm Logistics

What it does: Sells snowboarding and skateboarding gear and apparel; provides warehousing and back-end services for online retailers

Pictured: Justin Clapick, founder

Where: 1151 SE Centennial Court, Bend

Employees: Two

Phone: 541-647-3795

Website: www.solsticesupply.com and www.realmlogistics.com

Solstice Supply Co. got its start on the slopes of Mount Bachelor. Back in 2006, Justin Clapick, 35, originally of San Diego and a graduate of Arizona State University with a degree in economics, arrived at his mother’s home in Bend with no plan and a trailer full of snowboarding merchandise he’d been selling on eBay.

“Solstice came out of necessity,” he said Wednesday. “How could I keep living here? This place is pretty great. I figured out that keeping e-commerce going was my way of sustaining my existence.”

Clapick spent six months of his first two years in Bend snowboarding, where he met people, made connections and figured out his next move, he said. Solstice was born, but with very little experience in Web development or online sales and marketing, Clapick had an uphill trek ahead of him.

Today, Solstice Supply, a Bend-based online purveyor of snowboarding and skateboarding gear and apparel, is profitable, if only just so. Clapick and business partner Colin McCullough, 28, who brought warehouse management experience to the company, are on the verge of expanding into a larger warehouse in Redmond, growing another business, Realm Logistics, and kicking off an online campaign to raise $500,000 in capital to expand Solstice Supply.

“It’s crowdfunding for equity through this company called Fundable. It’s like Kickstarter, but you’re not getting a product; you’re going to get ownership,” he said.

The road for Clapick and Solstice has been up and down — so far down, he said. He started the business in his mother’s garage and then gathered up partners and investment capital, mostly through like-minded snowboarders he met on the mountain. Sales increased year on year like a snowboarder spinning: from $100,000 to $180,000 to $360,000.

“It was so crazy; it was exactly to the mark,” Clapick said, “360, 540, the next year 720. And then in 2010, I think, 2011 or ’12 we crossed the million-dollar mark.”

Still, the business turned no profit. Partners wanted out; Clapick and his remaining partners retooled the business. All along, he said, he learned how to sell online by doing it. Sales improved.

Later, he and McCullough decided to sell empty space in the 3,600-square-foot Solstice warehouse on SE Centennial Court to other online gear merchants and provide them with back-end services such as shipping. That’s how Realm Logistics was born. It counts as clients other local companies like Crab Grab, Drink Water and TurboPup, Clapick said.

“We wanted all of our business relationships to be authentic and with people we enjoy working with,” said Dawn Strout, co-owner of Crab Grab, maker of traction pads for snowboards, computers and cell phones. “They’re the perfect fit.”

The next step is moving Solstice Supply and Realm Logistics to a 5,000-square-foot space in Redmond with even more room to grow. Plans for the move should be firmed up in the next two weeks, Clapick said.

Said McCullough, “With the Realm, we’re really just trying to develop the infrastructure so we can really grow this thing. We’ve kinda reached a point where there’s only so much you can do to invest in some software and infrastructure to be able to take on larger brands and effectively manage their inventory. We’re basically setting a platform right now so we can grow.”

— Reporter: 541-617-7815, jditzler@bendbulletin.com

Editor’s note: This story has been corrected. In the original version, the business entity type for Solstice Supply and Realm Logistics was incorrect.

The Bulletin regrets the error.

Q: You said that last year you finally got profitable. How do you define profitability?

A: Justin Clapick: Well, profit and loss. We pay ourselves, for sure, yeah. … but it is a passion product because it’s not like you make a lot of money. … I live very modestly and make ends meet; it’s very tight.

Q: Where do you see the company in three to five years?

A: We’ll probably be hiring quite a few people. … Our idea is we can grow our fulfillment business; if we add a couple more brands we’ll be shipping 500 orders a day. The average person can ship 100 orders a day, 150. So, we’ll definitely be hiring people. But it’s definitely a process. Solstice, if the crowdfund thing goes good, maybe we can reach $3 million to $5 million in sales.

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