The Media School

IU grad moves back to Bloomington to open his own business

April 2nd, 2019 by

SLCT Stock has just recently celebrated the one-year anniversary and renewed the lease for another two years. With such success with the store in Bloomington, Nick Ayala said he is planning to open another store in Boulder.

Ayala’s dressed in a graphic old t-shirt with jeans sits at the counter crunching numbers on his laptop. The sticker displayed reads  “SLCT Stock,” which stands for Sneakers, Lifestyle, Clothing and Treasures, the shop he opened last year.

“All the stores in Bloomington felt the same,” he said. “I wanted to bring something different, something that there wasn’t anything else in town like it.”

Ayala is the owner of SLCT stock which, graduated college and went on work for Toyota Motor Corporation after college. He worked for the company for one year before deciding that he didn’t want to wear suit and ties for the rest of my life. Ayala had always collected lifestyle items such as clothes, shoes and accessories. He wanted to open a vintage style boutique in a college town.

One year after working for Toyota in Saline, Michigan, he decided Bloomington would be the perfect place in which took all his savings and took off to start his own business.

“I signed a lease, and I quit my job the next week,” he said.

Ayala said as a former student, he struggled to find vintage style clothing and sneakers, so he was forced to drive places such as Indianapolis or Chicago to find merchandise. His goal was to give residents in Bloomington a new outlet to express their personalities.

“There are people on every college campus that like this stuff but don’t really have a place to shop when they are local,” he said.

The store opened in March 2018, and he regularly makes changes to the layout. It’s a small store but he spends a lot of time making it a personal and relaxed shopping experience. He modeled it after shops in Japan he once visited that was also small.

Being a business owner in Bloomington was a lifestyle change for Ayala. He loves being his own boss, but it is also the most challenging part. He was forced to give up his social life to learn how to run a successful business.

“Everything is on you,” he said. “All the accounting, all the numbers, all the marketing, nobody is marketing my store for me. I have to do everything myself. I rely on myself.”

Kyle Clark, 23, is a local clothes designer and Ayala’s friend. When Ayala moved back to Bloomington in 2018, he promised to help him to make his business succeed in exchange for selling his items in the store.

“I was really inspired when Nick came back,” he said. “He left a stable job to try to make his dream a reality, and he did it. I couldn’t be any prouder to say that all the long nights we spend here pay off when looking at the books and numbers at the end of each month.”

Ayala even started a program in which customers can come in and exchange their vintage items for cash.

“I know college is expensive,” he said. “But this is how my business gets its items, by people selling their own stuff they have saved.”

Ayala’s biggest regret was waiting so long to go off on his own and spending more time focusing on grades and test scores, which didn’t end up making a difference in his world today.

“I feel like I wasted time, and I was just focused on good grades,” he said.  “And at the end of the day, none of it mattered,”

Although Ayala spends more time focusing on his business rather than his social life like most other 24-year-olds, he finds joy watching his customers come and find something that they love.

“I do what I do because I love it,” he said.