music in the park san jose

.Farewell Tankshit Tankshop

Leaving brick and mortar behind, Yonex Jones fires up the BoxTruck Mafia

music in the park san jose

The end is here for the TANKSHIT TANKSHOP, but this is not a sob story. Instead, it’s a tale of survival, death and rebirth.

Once housed at 1530 Alum Rock Ave., on one of the gateways from Highway 101 to East Side San Jose, the store has ended its three solid years of commerce.

Patrons swarmed the storefront to celebrate this one-of-a-kind swag shop/music studio/concert venue one last time before the TANKSHIT crew embarks on a new journey to the end of the world. The music was bumping, people were jumping and it was a bittersweet final goodbye. Many who came put one in the air for the end of an era.

Yonex Jones, owner of the late TANKSHOP, said he would rather consider the end of the 3,000-square-foot TANKSHOP as the beginning of a new life for his TANKSHIT brand and for the BoxTruck Mafia, a fleet of mobile businesses that travel the Bay Area selling mysterious and exciting wares from the back of their box trucks or oversized vehicles.

Jones, 31, began as an entrepreneur, selling mixtapes, clothes, shoes, exotic snacks and other oddities out the back of his car trunk. Four years ago he bought his 1998 Ford Econoline E350 box truck, embroidered with select styled graffiti art and embellished with racks of curious commodities. Three years ago he acquired the TANKSHOP, an all-ages brick-and-mortar stronghold for his snack empire and homebase for his music adventures.

In May, old pipes in the building burst and ruined what Jones estimates to be greater than $100,000 in merchandise. The store repeatedly flooded again since then, Jones said. The TANKSHOP’s liability insurance garnered him a $100,000 check to cover the floods’ damages in imported chips, clothing, shoes, antique toys and other destroyed items.

But Jones says he spent almost that much on new floors alone.

“I haven’t recouped my merchandise losses,” Jones said. “The vintage and everything is basically out the window.”

And over the last several months, Jones has dealt with other problems: break-ins and windows shot out by kids with BB guns. The nearby streets are often buzzing with “knocks,” Jones says, who bring other kinds of trouble. He’s maxed out his insurance policy.

On top of that, as reported in a 2022 Metro cover story, Jones says he has been harassed and raided by police, and he has faced tickets and court dates that have drained many of his resources.

Alex Carr, a fellow rapper and business associate, calls the shop an “old-ass building. They got ghosts in that shit.”

Carr says he helped Jones throw shows featuring Afroman, Kasher Quon, Landon Cube, DADDEX, Rico Too Smooth, Young Chop and Baby Gas, to name just a few of the artists throughout the years who performed at the TANKSHOP. And “every San Jose artist, damn near,” Carr adds. The shop also hosted San Jose’s Any Given Bars podcast and History of the Bay by Dregs One.

“I think it taught us a lot about where we can put our money the best,” Carr said. “By lowering the overhead of our operation, it’s only going to help us grow in the places we want to go.”

Though they regret the problems they suffered in business at the TANKSHOP, they love the community that was nourished there.

“That relationship that we built with the community—there is something we’re going to miss the most when we close up,” Carr said.

So with major losses threatening his finances, Jones decided to leave the storefront behind.

But is there any feasible way Jones and his crew could keep the shop open?

“For the set of circumstances, it’s not realistic or feasible,” Jones says. “We need proper funding. We need people to reach out and teach us some things. We’ve been asking for help.”

Now, the BoxTruck is his saving grace. Everything he has left he reinvested into his next move: a push back into the streets with the BoxTruck Mafia.

“We’re ripping the Band-Aid,” Jones said. “I don’t believe the shop closing is stopping anything that we got going on.”

He’ll hit the streets with Writers Bench and their stock of paints and writing materials, Westside HotWheels with his Hot Wheels rare collectibles, and others with loaded box trucks ready to make some money.

“Everybody already knows the program. Everybody’s trucks are all sauced up,” Jones said. “We’re becoming more professional over the years.”

And so this is the end of the TANKSHOP and a new beginning for TANKSHIT.

“Basically, just right back to the regular program,” Jones said.

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