Not sure... always knew about it.
My fascination with Oakley started in the early 90's when I was in high school. I was 15-16yrs old and competing as a Junior road cyclist and Oakley was making their entry into that market with their optics. I had always wanted Oakley's, but was always too cash strapped needing to invest my funds into upgrading my roadie, riding gear, travel to races & race entry fees... cycling was, and still is, and expensive sport. I had glasses at the time, and Oakley was just bringing the Sub-Zero with Optical Inserts to the market. A cash strapped Junior had no chance of affording this cutting edge technology... I stopped competing after Junior 15-16 Nationals, as a CAT3, and slowly started transitioning to a normal high school life.
It was years later in 1997, after I had stopped competing, had a steady job, and had started wearing contacts, that I purchased my first Oakleys... the Eye Jacket from a Sunglass Hut (still have the receipt). They were everything I imagined and the fit was amazing. I still have them, with the original lens, which have seen their fair share of abuse. They had to be warranty replace twice due to a weak point in the arms, but Oakley replaced them no questions asked. I knew I had found a company that stood behind what they sold...
Over the next 10 years, I slowly acquired several more Oakleys... A-Wires, C-Wires, Half Wires. During this time I met Sarah (I was wearing my Eye Jackets when I first caught her eye), I started my career & we married and started a family. It wasn't long before I was starting to purchase Oakleys for my wife. She lost her first ones into the Gulf of Mexico, they were Fives (Root Beer in color). I replaced them eventually and she then lost those in the Atlantic Ocean years later (it wasn't meant to be). Later in 2004, I purchased her Dartboards... we still have them. The Dartboards were amazing, she wore them every day... this is the point in time that I knew I had created a problem. We were now both obsessed with Oakley Optics.
The Jacksonville O Store opened at some point in 2005... the Dartboards were one of the first purchases I made there and in 2006 I purchased my X-Metal Plasma Juliets (which I had the rivets and membranes replaced at HQ in 2013). December 7th of 2006 was the last purchase (.45 Caliber Jacket) I made at the Jacksonville O Store (029); January 2007 I learned the O Store was closing... sad day; it was my favorite store in the mall to go visit. I would spend 30-60 min in the store talking with the staff about everything Oakley. Goodbyes were exchanged and Jacksonville was Oakley-less.
In September 2007, my wife & I went to NYC for the first time. We took a trip down to SoHo and thought it would be a good idea to find the O Store down there. We had heard about it from the staff at the old Jacksonville O Store. Once we stepped foot in the door, we were both floored, me probably more than my wife. I remember purchasing my first "destination tee" from them, the NYC City Scape.
The SoHo O Store was #2 for me... after this, I sought out O Stores when I traveled to purchase my optics and t-shirts. It wasn't until I started traveling for business in 2009/2010 that I really started visiting more and more Oakley Stores. Since I didn't have an O Store in town, I would do my shopping for clothes when I traveled. Eventually Oakley Women arrived, and now I was bringing home clothes for my wife too...
After 2 years of shopping Oakley while I travel, the rumor showed true in mid-2011, an Oakley Store was returning to Jacksonville; the St Johns O Store (...I still call them O Stores). During this summer (2011), we made a road trip up to Maine, from Florida, for a wedding and stopped at close to 15 O Stores/Vaults... I was pushing close to 35 Oakley Store visits by this point. And in October of 2011, Oakley was open once again in Jacksonville. I immediately stopped in, introduced myself to the Store Mgr. and developed an amazing relationship with her and the staff there.
I still continued to travel... my travel actually increased substantially, and visits to O Stores & Vaults did as well. I would pick-up items at these stores that the store in Jacksonville didn't carry. Then upon return, stop in and share my travels, pictures of stores I visited with everyone; this is why I call the store in Jacksonville, my "Basecamp" in my pictures. I always try to make my larger purchases at Basecamp to support my local Oakley Store; I don't want to lose it a second time. Often times I would hold off making smaller purchases on the road if I knew it was available at Basecamp.
You can find my O Store & Oakley Vault photos on Facebook:
This album hosts all the photos I have taken of the O Stores & Oakley Vaults I have visited during my travels throughout the years? there is only 1 store I do not have pics of that I have been to, the former Jacksonville O Store in the Avenues Mall. The one that started it all.
I make a point to grab a picture of the store front and then one with me in front of the store. Sometimes I take more pictures, especially when I come across locations that were uniquely designed. My wife Sarah & my daughters appear in some of the pics too... more recently I've brought my friends with me to visit the stores and brought them into my pics as well. I've met some amazing and passionate people along the way during my visits and don't have any plans to stop... it's my thing, it's what I do when I travel.
You can find me and more photos on Instagram: http://instagram.com/h01b3rg/
"Married to my Best Friend & Father of 2 Amazing Girls. Avid Cyclist, Runner, Snowboarder, Golfer & Traveler. Oakley Enthusiast, "Slightly" Obsessed..."