Ten Shops One Question June 2000

Say it ain’t so!

This can’t be the last issue of Volume Eleven already! We’ve had a terrific crew of skate shops to chat with and grow attached to, only to have to cut them loose next issue for a new crew of ten shops! It’s a cruel, cruel fate, trying to keep our readers informed of the happenings and fluctuations of our sometimes capricious industry. But, it’s not over ’til it’s over, so let’s savor these final answers provided by our wise shop people, and cast an optimistic eye toward the ten shops on the horizon.

Our current ten shops are in various locations around the U.S., and we also have one shop each in Canada and Australia. Every issue we’ve contacted these tireless troopers, sometimes during their busiest shop moments, to ask a question that pertains to the magazine’s theme as well as to the industry in general. All these successful shop-folk are enthusiastic, intelligent, and interesting¿their comments are always certain to shed a little light on the many vagaries of doing skate business, and can help both shops and manufacturing businesses.

So sniffing back the tears, here’s a big ol’ thank-you to the shops of Volume Eleven¿you really outdid yourselves!

If you have any questions or comments for our ten shops, please address them to: Ten Shops, One Question, 353 Airport Road, Oceanside CA 92054; FAX: (760) 722-0653.

This issue’s question: How has the skatepark boom affected sales in your shop?

Ted Okamoto at Vanguard in Redondo Beach, California

“I would say the most noticeable difference would be in protective gear¿sales have increased. There’s a lack of parks in this area. There’s a Hermosa city skatepark nearby, so I can’t complain. The people who shop in my store go there, but they’ll also travel to private parks that aren’t nearby. I’m currently undergoing a project with the city of Torrance¿trying to get a city park. Early stages¿it’s still in discussion.

“It seems that ever since AB 1296 the California bill that reduced the liability cities assume at public skateparks passed, there’s been a rapid number of skateparks built and completed. I just don’t have a whole lot of comments because there’s not that much going on here yet. But we always have sold protective gear, even before the skatepark boom. There’s a dual purpose for the helmets I sell: the parents are encouraging the kids to use them, and they can use them for riding their bicycles required by California law. But if people are claiming their helmets are bike-certified, I think there needs to be a little more stringent testing. There’s a lot of cheap product out there, and the certification isn’t that clear-cut. The parents want to know the guidelines and how it’s enforced¿can a company overseas just stamp the product or what?”

Nick Halkias at Westside in Tarpon Springs, Florida

“I think I missed it the boom! We have two parks in the area¿Central is more in-line park’ BMX, too, and then there’s the world-famous SkatePark of Tampa. Anytime there’s a Tampa contest, we’ve been selling more boards than softgoods, and more than in the past. I wouldn’t say it’s because of skateparks, exactly, but we don’t have a public park. There’s one spot in Tampa that’s been in a lot of the videos lately called the Bro Bowl¿something left over from the late 70s¿and that’s the only thing we have for free in the area. Florida is run by old people, so we’ve yet to see the public parks built like in California. As far as private skateparks in the area, it’s gonna be hard for anyone to beat Tampa. I hear Vans is gonna build a big park in Orlando, but that’s a long way away. SPoT is only about 45 minutes away. And some skaters do go to Central nearby.

“We sell protective gear mostly when kids are getting ready to go off to Woodward summer camp. There’re a few skate camps in the East Coast, but we’re in a sort of nicer area, so qte a lot of kids are sent off to summer camp. And I don’t really see us selling more helmets just because we’re in a nicer area¿parents usually buy the kids protective gear only if it’s required. Pro-Tec makes a PSAC certified helmet, and because there’s a bike-helmet law and these helmets work for both, we’ve been selling more.”

Melanie Loveland at Daddies Board Shop in Portland, Oregon

“I think it definitely has affected sales. What I’ve really seen is the parents’ awareness that the skateparks are there. The skateparks also give credibility to skateboarding¿you know, if they built a park, it must be legitimate. I think it’s more with the little kids¿the parents feel they have a safe place to take them, a park setting. Up here all the parks are outdoors¿not big private indoor ones like you’ve got in California¿and we’re getting more and more around here.

“We’re twenty minutes from the Vancouver Washington park, we’re four miles from Burnside. Tualatin and Beaverton are 30 minutes away. Even more parks 45 minutes away, like Saint Helens. Last year we printed up a Portland area skatepark guide, and it was a big hit. We did three full print runs, and lately we’ve been getting calls for it again. We have directions to all the parks on our Web site as well¿you know many of them are tricky to get to: daddiesboardshop.com.

“We sell a lot of protective gear¿80 percent is to kids, the other twenty is to older skaters who realize their bones are no longer made of rubber. And some of the kids did get the Pro-Tec helmet that lets them ditch their old bike helmets. In the last year I’d say protective gear has had a 30-percent increase. Part of it is the parks, but we push it, too.

“One of the biggest hang ups here is that they have not declared skateboarding a hazardous pastime like in California.”

Matt Sickels at Milosport in Salt Lake City, Utah

“We’re just about to open a new location in California in San Ramon, and that town is building a park nearby! It’s great!

“Location is great, you skate, you finish up and go to the local shop. Convenience! Even if it’s something as little as general service¿say, switching out a kingpin¿building a relationship with a skatepark is good business.

“We ended up cosponsoring a park ten minutes from the shop¿an indoor park. It opened right at the beginning of our winter. It’s great for people calling us for information¿good advertising up in the park, and we have a good relationship with the park, too. Now we have the ability to throw contests and demos.

“We have more consistent skate traffic now, kids who are gonna skate every day. They don’t go through stuff as fast because parks are less hard on your equipment than street skating. It keeps people excited about skating, and keeps them from having to find an alternative activity like snowboarding.”

Justin Ryan at Subsect Skateboards in Des Moines, Iowa

“Well, we haven’t had any city real close to us put in a skatepark that’s worthwhile. We’ve got a couple private parks in Davenport and Minneapolis, but that’s three hours from us, and there’s another in Omaha, but that’s two hours away. We’re hoping for it¿we’re on the committee to get a park built, and that could happen within a year. Our city’s kind of conservative, and they don’t want to see that for the youth. The parks’ll probably happen first in the suburbs before Des Moines gets into it.

“We’re patiently awaiting our turn. At the beginning of the month we skated at the O.B. Ocean Beach, California park, and I noticed the skate shop right near the park’s entrance, so I imagine they were stoked when they found the skatepark was being built at the end of their street! Even if we build outdoor parks, it’ll still be seasonal. At O.B. even older guys were skating them! And 25 little kids were hanging out watching, getting turned on to skating. It definitely creates excitement.

“We sell pads and helmets in the store, and they’ve increased in sales due to the couple little ramps that were built around Des Moines. Since they built one ramp about a year ago, pad sales have tripled.”

Hannah Baird-Bartie at Skateboards Only in Burleigh Head (Gold Coast), Australia

“In our state’s main city, Brisbane, which is only an hour drive away¿in the last three years they’ve had easily fifteen new parks. The city council up there is so good¿they have skaters building it. Up in Brisbane city, for all the school holidays they put on skate school camp. It keeps kids off the street, so they councilmembers may build them just for that! That’s at almost every park, too.

“Down here on the Gold Coast, in the last about two years, we’ve probably had about six or seven new ones, and there’re a couple I know of that will be open kind of shortly.

“In the 80s there were quite a few parks built, but a lot of them got filled in when skating went down in popularity. This time skating hasn’t gone away, and the council is seeing that. Kids put petitions to get a park built on our counter and come back weeks later to get them, all filled out, and that seems to work. We only have one private park on the Gold Coast that’s lasted, maybe it’s because of liability. There are a few more down south.

“We don’t sell pads here¿nobody wants to wear them, and it’s not compulsory here. We stock helmets, but they’re not compulsory, either. Usually they sell to the parents of first-time skaters.”

Chuck Mitsui at 808 Skate in Kailua, Hawai’i

“Actually it’s been pretty good. This year’s picked up a lot. The newest park is near the shop on the U.S. Marine base¿about three miles away. That’s meant a lot of helmet sales because you have to wear helmets on the base. It seems like kids are being dropped off at the park or wherever they’ve set up ramps at a nearby park.

“I think it’s gonna start picking up in a couple years, there’re about four parks in design right now in the city and county. In a couple years this’ll be a great place to visit.

“We have a pretty good mix of younger and older skaters¿mean age is sixteen to eighteen. Pad sales¿mostly helmets are definitely up. Kneepads and elbow pads are more for the little kids. We don’t even have a vert ramp on this island, so the Fat Boys tend to sit on the shelf¿they’re planning for one, though.”

Bill Wilson at Full Tilt Board Shop in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

“We do have one skatepark about a half hour away that opened up six months ago¿our first free outdoor park that’s big and good, not cheesy. It’s hard to measure it the effect in numbers, but it’s definitely helped. It’s brought back a lot of older skaters¿guys I haven’t seen in two years who want to go give it a shot.

“The park is within a larger park and unsupervised, but the parents are setting up chairs in the park and having picnics while the kids skate. So it’s been good for prospecting new skaters, getting the twelve and thirteen year olds in and buying good skate setups. They’re buying pads and helmets, too, so that’s been a big increase.

“The park the Oakville skatepark in Shell Park opened in October, so we got a good month or two until winter hit, and now it’s starting up again.

“The park is gonna help us with demos coming through¿we’ve got Tum Yeto and Osiris coming this month. The park is helping us to have a skate scene, which you don’t always have in the suburbs¿it’s been more of a downtown thing. We finally have somewhere to go and hang out.”

A.J. Qureshi at Liquid in Houston, Texas

“We’re far from any skatepark¿the closest park is probably 40 miles away. I don’t think it’s really affected us here yet. There isn’t enough in the city to really get thing turned on to skating. It definitely creates excitement.

“We sell pads and helmets in the store, and they’ve increased in sales due to the couple little ramps that were built around Des Moines. Since they built one ramp about a year ago, pad sales have tripled.”

Hannah Baird-Bartie at Skateboards Only in Burleigh Head (Gold Coast), Australia

“In our state’s main city, Brisbane, which is only an hour drive away¿in the last three years they’ve had easily fifteen new parks. The city council up there is so good¿they have skaters building it. Up in Brisbane city, for all the school holidays they put on skate school camp. It keeps kids off the street, so they councilmembers may build them just for that! That’s at almost every park, too.

“Down here on the Gold Coast, in the last about two years, we’ve probably had about six or seven new ones, and there’re a couple I know of that will be open kind of shortly.

“In the 80s there were quite a few parks built, but a lot of them got filled in when skating went down in popularity. This time skating hasn’t gone away, and the council is seeing that. Kids put petitions to get a park built on our counter and come back weeks later to get them, all filled out, and that seems to work. We only have one private park on the Gold Coast that’s lasted, maybe it’s because of liability. There are a few more down south.

“We don’t sell pads here¿nobody wants to wear them, and it’s not compulsory here. We stock helmets, but they’re not compulsory, either. Usually they sell to the parents of first-time skaters.”

Chuck Mitsui at 808 Skate in Kailua, Hawai’i

“Actually it’s been pretty good. This year’s picked up a lot. The newest park is near the shop on the U.S. Marine base¿about three miles away. That’s meant a lot of helmet sales because you have to wear helmets on the base. It seems like kids are being dropped off at the park or wherever they’ve set up ramps at a nearby park.

“I think it’s gonna start picking up in a couple years, there’re about four parks in design right now in the city and county. In a couple years this’ll be a great place to visit.

“We have a pretty good mix of younger and older skaters¿mean age is sixteen to eighteen. Pad sales¿mostly helmets are definitely up. Kneepads and elbow pads are more for the little kids. We don’t even have a vert ramp on this island, so the Fat Boys tend to sit on the shelf¿they’re planning for one, though.”

Bill Wilson at Full Tilt Board Shop in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada

“We do have one skatepark about a half hour away that opened up six months ago¿our first free outdoor park that’s big and good, not cheesy. It’s hard to measure it the effect in numbers, but it’s definitely helped. It’s brought back a lot of older skaters¿guys I haven’t seen in two years who want to go give it a shot.

“The park is within a larger park and unsupervised, but the parents are setting up chairs in the park and having picnics while the kids skate. So it’s been good for prospecting new skaters, getting the twelve and thirteen year olds in and buying good skate setups. They’re buying pads and helmets, too, so that’s been a big increase.

“The park the Oakville skatepark in Shell Park opened in October, so we got a good month or two until winter hit, and now it’s starting up again.

“The park is gonna help us with demos coming through¿we’ve got Tum Yeto and Osiris coming this month. The park is helping us to have a skate scene, which you don’t always have in the suburbs¿it’s been more of a downtown thing. We finally have somewhere to go and hang out.”

A.J. Qureshi at Liquid in Houston, Texas

“We’re far from any skatepark¿the closest park is probably 40 miles away. I don’t think it’s really affected us here yet. There isn’t enough in the city to really get things going. We get a mix here¿the majority of business we do is with younger kids, and the majority of helmets we sell is to parents who want their kids to wear helmets.

“The old owners had a park in the works, but I guess they couldn’t get the funding for it. We cover a lot of the north part of the city, and there’s really nothing going on right now¿maybe we’ll start something.

“They really didn’t have a good selection of helmets¿pricepoint¿at Point Break the old store. I went to ASR Long Beach and was able to find some of that stuff.”

Aaron Costa at Krudco in Rochester, New York

“To be honest with you, sale-wise, it’s helped. Not decent compared to California standards, but for us … there are three parks operating in this area, within driving distance of Rochester. The parks are good, but they could be a lot better. We have mostly private parks and one municipal park¿but they the municipal park didn’t listen to us in pre-design so it’s not too good.

“We definitely sell more helmets because of it the boom. Both kids and parents buy ‘em¿some kids want helmets. It’s been a positive thing within the last year, and it’s been an experience for us here personally¿Skateparks International is building a municipal park about twenty minutes out, and now we know what it’s like to design a park, how hard it is! The ramps are all metal because of the weather, and trying to fit what you need into a very limited space is a chore. And another park is going in not far from there¿which will help us out as well.

“If only we had an indoor park here! We almost had one. If someone would let me do what I want here, it’d be good.”

things going. We get a mix here¿the majority of business we do is with younger kids, and the majority of helmets we sell is to parents who want their kids to wear helmets.

“The old owners had a park in the works, but I guess they couldn’t get the funding for it. We cover a lot of the north part of the city, and there’s really nothing going on right now¿maybe we’ll start something.

“They really didn’t have a good selection of helmets¿pricepoint¿at Point Break the old store. I went to ASR Long Beach and was able to find some of that stuff.”

Aaron Costa at Krudco in Rochester, New York

“To be honest with you, sale-wise, it’s helped. Not decent compared to California standards, but for us … there are three parks operating in this area, within driving distance of Rochester. The parks are good, but they could be a lot better. We have mostly private parks and one municipal park¿but they the municipal park didn’t listen to us in pre-design so it’s not too good.

“We definitely sell more helmets because of it the boom. Both kids and parents buy ‘em¿some kids want helmets. It’s been a positive thing within the last year, and it’s been an experience for us here personally¿Skateparks International is building a municipal park about twenty minutes out, and now we know what it’s like to design a park, how hard it is! The ramps are all metal because of the weather, and trying to fit what you need into a very limited space is a chore. And another park is going in not far from there¿which will help us out as well.

“If only we had an indoor park here! We almost had one. If someone would let me do what I want here, it’d be good.”

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