Hump Day Throws a Grenade at Joseph Condorelli

joec4

It’s easy to make fun of Grenade. Between Danny Kass’s antics, and the company’s complete makeover, one has to wonder what exactly is going on over there?  Then, when you add in the fact that almost everyone in snowboarding has worked for, hung out at, or done business with Grenade, yet only a few people know what’s really happening, it gets even easier. In fact, I heard last week, CEO Joseph Condorelli bit the head off a live bat. True story.

You believed me for a minute didn’t you? After all, Joseph is an outsider. A loud-mouthed New Yorker who came from a business background, having never set foot on a snowboard, to run a snowboard company that at the time, was on the brink of disaster. And even though he supposedly didn’t know what a “beanie” was, he’s worked day and night for two solid years to keep the company afloat and thriving. Yeah, it’s not the same Grenade we all hung out at, now it’s a growing company that might actually be around for years to come. Love him or hate him, this is Joseph’s side of the story.

How did you get involved with Grenade? Did Matt meet you at the bar or something?

I became involved with Grenade when I was a network consultant for a software company. One of my partners was working with the company to install the back end software. I met Matt and Danny as they were trying to ship their first season from the new warehouse–needless to say, we’ve met at a few bars since then.

What is your background?

My background is technology–I’ve spent most of my time consulting small to medium-sized businesses.

Had you ever been snowboarding before you became the CEO at Grenade?

No, I am a bit older and came from New York City.  Snowboarding became widespread after I had already been a skier.

Can you snowboard now?

I can stay up and fool around but still have a hard time stopping–two knee surgeries deep, but I’m still interested. When we get some spare time I might go with Danny for a few weeks of R&R and learn from the best. That would give you something to blog about–true comedy. I’ll see if Rip Zinger is available to film it…

Is there any knowledge from another industry you’ve brought to Grenade that’s helped move things forward?

Danny has the passion and the creativity that drives the spirit of the company everyday. I bring all the knowledge and experience from every business that I’ve ever been a part of–that combination brought this company back to full strength.

joec3

This is where the magic happens.

What has been the biggest mistake made in Grenade’s existence?

I feel like that kind of question would lead to an overly simplistic, or fantastical, sound-bite answer. Every decade-old company has had its fair share of ups and downs. We are constantly assessing and evaluating all of our business and creative practices and adjusting them to become better at what we do. Perhaps at times we’ve complicated things that are simple, but from that we’ve learned and grown. We have a very strong brand trademark, and sometimes we haven’t leveraged that in the most efficient way, so right now we’re trying to focus the brand on being Grenade.

Do you think people in snowboarding are scared of you?

Often people are shocked by my transparency; I am blunt and can be explosive and aggressive –I admit that is where my personality fails. But I’ve worked to build real friends in this industry–I try to find the people that understand my style and have the patience to get to know me. There’s nothing to be afraid of when we’re building strong, honest partnerships.

Ever killed a man?

Ha! No. I am loud but not deadly. Actually, I’m a bit of a scaredy cat.

Have you ever made an employee cry?

My personality draws other strong personalities; if they have, I haven’t seen it.

How are these tough economic times treating Grenade?

Timing is on our side, actually. If the economy had been this bad two years ago we might not have made it. We have doubled our Spring/Summer apparel sales. We’re pretty stoked about our expanding footwear division and street line.

Obviously things could have been going better when you took over, how did you get the company back on track?

I actually did only one thing: I persevered when the going got rough. I worked later and longer. I pushed every person I could get my hands on–some burned out, unfortunately–but we didn’t have the luxury then for anyone that wasn’t committed to the survival of the company. We made it.

louie

Still in business, and a full bar at the office. Not bad, I’d say.

Was the MMA industry receptive to the Grenade Products you’ve produced?

We tried one set of hoodies and tees, and yes they were, but ultimately it wasn’t a good fit for us. We’re still expanding and exploring other action sports–right now we’re developing some Motocross gear. Of course our largest expansion has been introducing our Spring/Summer apparel line, which is closely related to the skate scene. Danny’s always been a skater, so that was natural.

What is your response to people who’ve criticized Grenade for this expansion?

For the last 2 years I had a goal and a job to do, and I did it well. The company is open when it should have been closed. At the same time, I understand that some of our long-time fans have had trouble adjusting to our growth. Their concern speaks to their love of the brand, which is fantastic, but hopefully our most loyal fans will understand that we have to grow to survive. They can still get their Grenade gear at their local shop, but now they can also get some of it at the mall. It’s good business.

Why did you guys desert the 82nd street warehouse (complete with Dagger built Skate Park)?

I wouldn’t call it desertion, we downsized. The overhead was too high. A lot of small businesses go under by virtue of not being objective. We’ve worked too hard to go under based on keeping our loved, but an unnecessarily large, warehouse. Also, we’re better at designing gear than packing boxes.

Is the skate park still in there?

No, it is not–we donated it to Epic Snow and Skate here in Portland. They just held an event to break in the “new” bowl. The park was too sweet to sell with the warehouse. There are pictures on our blog.

grenademain

Boba Fett and some boxes greet visitors to the new Grenade office.

Where are you located now? Is Grenade still doing all its own shipping and warehousing?

We relocated to the waterfront off of Macadam Ave, still in Portland. We’ve set up shop in a 100 year-old office building; professionals and doctors surround us. It’s hilarious, especially in the elevator. Where most offices have waiting rooms, we have a cardboard cut-out of Boba Fett wearing Grenade gear and a fully-operational sticker manufacturing station. Last week Danny was in town and parked the RV across ten spots in the parking lot. We bring a lot to the neighborhood. For shipping, we’ve partnered with a logistics handling company.

What’s it like being in a board meeting with Danny Kass? Does the Dingo get to hang out too?

Actually Danny, Dingo, and myself have some of the greatest meetings of all time. They have a unique combination of ideas and passion that you don’t always see in a professional setting. People should know how heavily invested they are in the company. We make things that they wear and they rep. Working with them has been a great reward and an experience that I would have never had in other businesses I’ve worked with.

Worst part about working with snowboarders?

I have had the privilege of working with some of the finest men I have met in along time–there’s not really a downside. The snowboarders that I work with are fun, energetic, creative and engaged.

joec1

All business, all the time.

Be honest. Do you really think Danny will make the Olympic team again? I mean, Danny is amazing, but have you seen the crap these kids are doing now?

I would be surprised if he doesn’t. I think Danny is at the most stress free point in his life–and if I’ve learned anything over the last 3 years, snowboarding is all about freedom. My man Danny is free at last. He’s training now.

Have you considered getting a Grenade tattoo?

No, but maybe some jewelery. Can’t you see me flashing some logo bling?

If you could give the snowboard industry as a whole one piece of advice, what would it be?

Have fun. Shred as long as you can and try to find a place to place that passion when you’re not on the mountain. Everyone’s got to hustle, but if you’re doing what you love and working harder than the next guy, you’ll find success.

53 replies
  1. mark
    mark says:

    “Have fun. Shred as long as you can and try to find a place to place that passion when you’re not on the mountain. Everyone’s got to hustle, but if you’re doing what you love and working harder than the next guy, you’ll find success.” this is actually pretty basic and good advice!

     
  2. thomas
    thomas says:

    Seems like a decent guy, but doesn’t make up for some of the ugliest looking outerwear in snowboarding.

     
  3. Evol1971
    Evol1971 says:

    If you have someone running a snowboard company
    that does’nt snowboard, this truly leads
    to death. I have seen this happen over and
    over in the past 20 years.

     
  4. Estes' Ghost
    Estes' Ghost says:

    Does this mean Grenade will actually know the materials they are using in the gloves? My favorite line from a former rep was “Who cares what’s inside- the kids buy em up all day long!”

     
  5. Oh Good Lord
    Oh Good Lord says:

    Does anyone have a shovel to dig me out of this load of BS this guy is spewing out of his mouth. This guys is obviously the worlds largest douch bag!!

     
  6. BloaterBoat
    BloaterBoat says:

    This dude is nothing but a f’ing fraud and everyone who knows, knows. Danny should boot this douche before he destroys everything that was right with Grenade.

     
  7. WASP
    WASP says:

    “Some got burned out – Unfotunately”? WTF? He came in and fired all the shred heads before they could get burned out. Mall = Good business? Mall = Fail. Danny take this company back!! This guy is a douchbag! Glove quality wasn’t good to begin with, but at least it had heart and the homie program going for it. Now the heart is gone and the quality is worse.

     
  8. JLD
    JLD says:

    without this “d bag” Grenade would be broke and out of business. if you were in their shoes wtf would you do? making money in the mall sure beats unemployment. still the same shitty gloves and cool stickers; now actually ran by someone with some business skills.

     
  9. LAME
    LAME says:

    Grenade sucks fatty dick. There gloves suck. They make hella ugly outerwear that also falls apart. It sucks that grenade is turning into more pieces of poop than before. They fucked every one over at the pdx expo snow thing so i hope that they go out of business.

     
  10. mike
    mike says:

    This guy is a major idiot. He’s straight up lying. He hates snowboarders, snowboarding, and most of all snowboard shops. A true hater selling the lowest quality product possible.

     
  11. Dave D
    Dave D says:

    “The photo of Jesus on his wall kinda creeps me out.” – Jesus = Danny Kass, nice compliment.

    Having this guy behind the scene running the business so Danny Kass can focus on designing new ranges & getting his shred on is a really smart set up.
    There are some long hours & serious number crunching in the back end of a company that size & Danny has someone who can make the tough decisions while he focuses most of his time in growing the front end of the business, designing, marketing & shredding.

    Just like all other rider owned brands it is more beneficial for them to be competeing & filming then locked away in a office. As long as this guy can push buttons & get a job done (which it seems very clear he can) then Danny’s made the right choice.

    Grenade has broken the mould of a rider owned brand going under from to much growth or having to be bought out by a big invester to stay alive.

    Well done Grenade, I’m really looking forward to what the new adjusted brand has installed for the future.

     
  12. Eaton
    Eaton says:

    Ha! its obvious the above comment was written by Joseph Conderrelli. He must think were all pretty stupid. What a loser! Mabee Danny will read it and think your doing a good job.

     
  13. Dave D
    Dave D says:

    Holly sh*t!!!! you serious Eaton, shoot someone for having something constructive to say.
    I’m actually not even based in the US!!!

     
  14. n/a
    n/a says:

    I respect the fact that jc is admitting his personality flaws, because they are without a doubt there. Those flaws have earned Grenade an ugly rep in the industry that it doesn’t deserve. The work environment at Grenade is outrageous and so is this man.

     
  15. john
    john says:

    When grenade first started in mammoth/june they were by far the most rider drven and owned company out there. There wasnt anythingsicker than grenade. they had every single rider you could ever want on there team. now there pathetic

     
  16. Dodrugs Idid
    Dodrugs Idid says:

    grenade- i suppose if these dudes kept doin business the way they did it people would still hate. shops would never get the gear and warranties would still not be respected bills would not be paid. i bet 87.4% of the people hating actually work for some corprate dickfuck just so they can keep the dream of snowshreding alive. this JC dude may be an ass but at least he helped keep grenade alive. and if anything snowboarders started out as punkassmutherfuckers everyone hated on so maybe this punkassmutherfucker, JC, guy is good for snowboarding.

     
  17. Jimbo
    Jimbo says:

    I will admit I stopped reading halfway down the comment board. I think its fucking HIRLARIOUS that dumbass snowboarders (yea thats right, you’re all just a bunch of burnouts) think that they know their foot from their ass when it comes to business.

    As for all the comments on how “companies fail if their not rider owned…” think about that comment. You’re back asswards in your thinking. Companies being entirely rider owned/operated is EXACTLY why they fail. Seriously, you guys are saying that this dude is “ruining grenade” (not sure that’s possible since they ALWAYS sucked) when in actuality Grenade was ruining ITSELF! This guy pulled a mothefucking Lazarus job on that company and saved it from lonely nights spent spooning a bottle of Jack Daniels in the gutters of Portland. And seriously, do you think that being “Rider owned” would actually increase the quality of the product at all? Look at Jake Burton, he produces some of the most horrendous crap I’ve ever seen in a board shop, is that what you want with Grenade?

    And seriously, mall=death? Do you know nothing about business? If you sell your shit solely in snow shops, than the only demographic that you’re hitting is snowboarders, who, aside from the ones with rich parents, generally cant afford to buy shit. Whereas, if you sell your worthless crap in a mall all the worthless people who shop there, and have plenty of money to do so, can buy it and you make exponentially more money.

    Snowboarders are idiots who should never have he helm of a company alone. And don’t hate, I’m a snowboarder too…

     
  18. righthere
    righthere says:

    Oh bow down to the mighty Jimbo, you can’t even spell, and as far as your precious Grenade,,I
    give them maybe a couple more years,and all posers like you will quit buying there gimmick.
    Grenade will fail, as you Jimbo.

     
  19. M1 A1
    M1 A1 says:

    When this “CEO” burns out 98% of his employees, its for a reason. He isn’t a manager, and doesn’t respect anyone elses ideas, or views other than himself. He’s a manipulator in the highest form of the word.. When your turnover rate is that high, your company is always going to suck, because there is no heart and soul behind the brand, which in turn ruins the product, the promise of what the product could and should be and the motivation to work hard. Sure, business is business. No one is denying that, you must make money. But there is a right way to do it and a wrong way. For those of us who have been in the Grenade family and bled for the brand through the years, witnessing how this dude treats people, other businesses, shops, distributors, factories, his employees and his general hatred for snowboarding and snowboarders, its NOT good for snowboarding and it sucks that people are falling for his bullsh*t. Danny himself knows JC is a huge problem, but he isn’t in a position to do anything about it….at this point. But believe me, its coming. This dude is lying to you all. Period. End of story. The dude hates snowboarding with a PASSION. Talk to him for 2 minutes, and it seethes from his slit tongue.

     
  20. ALB
    ALB says:

    I’ve been snowboarding since 1989 and seen many a company that started by snowboarders, go in down the drain when they “sell out” to the big business. Does anyone remember Wave Rave, Aggression, Twist, or even World Industries just to name a few? They all had the right intentions but when the turn it over to the suits, BOOM, they end!!!! Too bad, too.Of course, there’s some that are still around and having fun, but the reality of it is the truth. After reading this about the new wiseguy at Grenade, all I have to say is GOOD LUCK!!! Grenade used to be cool when the had their shops called the Office and they actually cared about the snowboarding business, but now???!!!!

     
  21. The Thinker
    The Thinker says:

    Perhaps Grenade is doomed to fail. But it doesn’t seem fair to blame this guy. It sounds like Grenade was flushing itself down the toilet before he took over, and at the very least he’s kept them in business for a few extra years. Maybe he’s a “d bag” or some of the other colorful phrases you’ve all used, but it sounds like he knows how to run a business, which is what that business needed.

    In snowboarding, too many companies are ruined because people are scared to fire their friends when they are doing a poor job. Sometimes you need a non-bro to step in and do it for you. I think Danny had the right idea when he handed over the reigns of his company to someone who knew what they were doing.

    The fact is, when a company grows at the rate that grenade was and is, things can’t stay the same. So this is where we are. But i guess it begs the question, can any snowboard company ever really get big without losing its edge and hardcore fans? I don’t think so. look at some other examples (I can think of one that starts with a b) and then get back to me.

     
  22. LAME
    LAME says:

    hahaha this is awesome. just point out to all those people that think rider driven companys dont work then look at R.O.M.E. AirBlaster, Capita just to name a few. Their still here and running just fine. Jimbo your really smart.

     
  23. summit county dude
    summit county dude says:

    I actually like filthy italians, reminds me of my father who used to say “now look what you made me do, I don’t like hitting your mother but you kids work my last nerve” GO GERNADE!!

     
  24. iffy
    iffy says:

    Grenade was awesome back in like 03 when they were still in Mammoth and all the scummy riders worked in The Office. Then they moved and branched off into stupid crap, and well now I don’t support them.

     
  25. ryan
    ryan says:

    just because he knows how to run a business does not mean he is the right person to run this business.

     
  26. Oh Good Lord
    Oh Good Lord says:

    All in ALL, the man is bad for the business. He doesn’t know the first thing about the industry, relationships or brand integrity. His ass should have be canned a long time ago. There are so many great smart industry people right now who are looking for a job, that could come in and a do damn better job then this arrogant BSer. The man is a waste of space in this industry.

     
  27. Jimbo
    Jimbo says:

    Hey L.A.M.E., you realize the three companies you just listed are most likely three of the youngest companies in snowboarding? They’re “doing fine” for now, but in todays economy a business can’t succeed forever unless it grows and most growth doesn’t come from binge-drinking and backflips, it comes from going to School and getting your MBA and unfortunately making some hard decisions to hurt some feelings and loose short-term “respect” for profits and longevity. I’m not saying the dude isn’t a dick, I don’t work for Grenade, nor have I ever, he could be a genuine asshole. I am saying that he got the product to a much larger consumer base than Danny and Dingo ever could.

    And as for my “beloved Grenade” if you didn’t notice I said they have shitty gear….

     
  28. kindemad
    kindemad says:

    Jc is a liar, cheat and all around douchebag. He has never been snowboarding and never will. Good luck Grenade you are going to need it, this guy has made more enemies than friends out there.

     
  29. falcon
    falcon says:

    Condorelli has been a failure at everything he tries, and Grenade will ultimately fail like every company JC has worked with. He is one of the most despised people i know, and has no skills other than being a complete jackass.

    Dude knows absolutely NOTHING about snowboarding, business, or public relations. The guy can’t even speak a complete sentence.

    I could not believe it when Danny brought this guy on.

    Oh well, they make junk anyway. Send this guy packing Danny!

     
  30. anonymous
    anonymous says:

    I had the misfortune to work for Grenade. If JC says he never made an emplpoyee cry… He’s full of shit. He’s a dishonest scumbag and the worst human I ever met.

     
  31. JustCause
    JustCause says:

    I have had first hand experience with this old hag. The guy might have been business smart in uh….1915 as the neighborhood lawnmower. Now he should be bagging groceries in your local market or pumping our gas. He is a disgruntled, way over the hill Dick Head! He rips his employees off and gives 2 shits about any of his vendors. He is a complete poser and not even good at that. He needs to save himself before even thinking about doing anything for the brand. I used to be proud to rock “Grenade,” but because of this guy I dropped everything off @ the Goodwill. I hope someday Mr. Kass will take his company back and treat his vendors, and most importantly his employees right again. That is what the company needs to survive not this guys misleading loud ego. I do wish the best for Grenade in the future and hope the right thing happens.

    http://vtdeathrider.wordpress.com/2009/11/04/joseph-condorelli-of-grenade-interviewed-on-yobeat/

     
  32. Case
    Case says:

    I’ve been riding for 20 years and support all things sideways. Hate on a roller blade company you pricks! I like the gear and the snowboard industry still needs support from all the riders. Since when did we start hating on each other? Or hating at all?

    No company is perfect and Grenade is on the come up. Keep evolving and pushing and good things will happen JC.

     
  33. orly
    orly says:

    It should’nt surprise me that somebody with no ethics doesnt have trouble lying.
    But WOW, he didnt just lie… he lied so much his nose wouldnt be able to fit in the fucking warehouse.

    Have you ever made an employee cry?

    My personality draws other strong personalities; if they have, I haven’t seen it.

    LIE!
    I have personally watched him make 2 different girls cry on MORE than one occasion. The dude is the worlds biggest asshole.

    PS: his interaction with the photographer in the link above is actually BETTER than how he generally acts, particularly towards employees.

     
  34. RV
    RV says:

    Anyone that has ever worked with JC knows this is all BS.. Anyone who hasn’t should stp the speculation and take note.. Do not work with this idiot..

    Anyone can walk into something like Grenade with it’s massive branding and distribution and fine tune it to make it profitable..

    JC walked in and literally tore the company apart piece by piece until it was falling apart.. Family, staff, brothers (blood and not), vendors, suppliers, all battling eachother and Grenade.. He broke everyone down to the point that there was no light at the end of the tunnel.. There was only JC holding a candle as if to imply he was everyones savior.. I saw firsthand the confusion and uncertainty of Matt’s last few months and the dark months following his removal from the brand..

    Believe me JC is certainly capable of being as manipulative as I accuse him of….

    The future of Grenade is in Danny’s hands.. But why would be care? he is a professional snowboarder not business owner.. That’s why he has JC to run shit for him.. If the checks ever stop coming in then and only then will he have any reason to give a shit..

    Want that old Grenade vibe back? Start your own brand..

     

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