This Place We Call Home
PHOTOS by JASON O’NEIL
WRITING by CLAIRE BACHOFNER
INCLUDED IN THE LOCAL VOL. 1
Ever meet someone who is truly living their dream and notice how they seem sort of invincible? Or, step into a place that is so alive with passion and creativity it feels contagious? Take one step off of Last Chance Gulch, through the doors of fourOsix, shake hands with Alex “Papu” Rincon and you’ll see just what I mean.
FourOsix is a lifestyle shop that promotes art, music, style, forward thinking and Montana living. It is a retail store that operates with a strong focus on community and social responsibility. (Source: fourOsix.com)
Papu grew up in Helena and has devoted himself to creating a business that celebrates all the things he truly loves while giving back to his community in strong and tangible ways.
When he recalls the experience of what it was like to be a young person growing up with big ideas and lots of energy in a small Montana town Papu explains, “Unless you were really into traditional sports or school-related activities, you were kind of left to figure it out on your own. There really wasn’t a place that celebrated the artists and musicians, the skaters and snowboarders, the outdoorsman and mountain bikers. These were such talented young people. But, they were lacking a space to gather and collaborate. They were lacking a unified voice." So, he and a friend took it upon themselves to startup and host a radio show specifically for that purpose. They interviewed friends and acquaintances about what they were up to outside of school and provided a place for them to share their passions and speak about what it was they really loved. Papu even started printing t-shirts and hoodies for his classmates marked with his first sort of “brand”: Papu Industries. They were a huge hit. I guess you could say that was the very beginning of what has now become fourOsix. A seed had been planted.
Papu went on to attend Carroll College and triple majored in Business Management with International Business and Marketing, Languages and Literature in Spanish and Linguistics and a Multi-Disciplinary Degree in Visual Arts and Graphic Design. Add all those up and what do you get? A kick-ass downtown business that sees the big picture and is run by someone who lives the philosophy: Work Hard Play Hard.
FourOsix not only focuses on their incredibly popular in-house branded gear (which is now available online and sells internationally), they also host many community events, concerts, art shows, and try to give back as often as they possibly can. Available in the shop are t-shirts, hoodies, posters (and even onesies!) that are a collaborative effort between fourOsix and local artists, clothing, stickers, duffels, hats, backpacks and other outdoor items that help celebrate the Montana lifestyle in various ways.
Papu likes to think that fourOsix has a little something for everyone. “One thing I love is that fourOsix means so many different things to so many different people. One person might love that we celebrate the great outdoors, hiking, fishing, camping, etc. They might identify with that. To another person, it may be all about snowboarding and skateboarding and they love that part of what Montana has to offer them. Or, we might appeal to someone who loves art, design and style and they identify with fourOsix’s tag line “limitless creativity”. It’s so individual yet so universal. It’s inclusive. I love that.”
There are a couple large posters that hang near the register featuring black and white snapshots of everyone who attended fourOsix’s ten year anniversary celebration. If you’ve lived in Helena for anytime at all, you’ll probably recognize nearly half of the smiling faces who came out in support of this sweet business’s success. Among the photos are words written in bold black letters- they are the pillars of fourOsix’s business (and life) philosophy: COMMUNITY, ADVENTURE, CREATIVITY, CONNECTION, HOME, FAMILIA, AMOR, PASSION and FREEDOM. These are what make Papu and his team tick. Because, after all, the success of fourOsix means there will continue to be a place in Helena for young people to gather. It means there will continue to be a place in Helena that encourages people to love where they live. A place to celebrate and flourish through limitless creativity. It means there will still be a guy who hires promising high schoolers and inspires them to follow their hearts and pursue their passions. Who’ll travel around speaking to audiences of interested college students in pursuit of their own dreams and who will, afterward, spend hours listening intently to their questions and ideas. The success of fourOsix means there will continue to be more and more people out there sharing the goodness of this place we call home.
Ten years have passed since Papu first opened the doors of fourOsix and things are looking bright. When you step in the shop today, you’ll be greeted with a warm, authentic hello from Papu or one of his young employees. You’ll notice the beauty and simplicity of the space as you flip through original shirts, posters, hats and other gear that has come from straight from heart, through a process of hard work and intentional energy. Maybe you’ll see something you love and it will strike a chord within and, because it means something to you and you can’t find it anywhere else on earth, you’ll decide to make it your own