RIP Metro Skateshop, 1999 – 2013
Words by Kevin Duffel, photography by Daniel Muchnik
You might know Metro Skateshop for Gary Rogers and Skateline. But growing up on the “other side” of the bridge in the Bay Area, Metro Skateshop was the only legit skateshop our scene had. I’ve known Joel Jutagir, owner of Concord, California’s Metro, for over 15 years now--back when the shop was just an idea, and when Joel was one of the area’s most ripping skaters, switch five-O grinding Hubba Hideout way back before people jumped down shit switch. He was a recent transplant from Florida just living the skate life and roughing it, bumming around where he could just so he could stay out in California and live his dream. In the early days, Joel lived the trife life, and I like to think that he taught me some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned thus far: how to camp on a beach without getting the boot, how to take a hobo shower in a McDonald’s sink, how to acquire a meal when you’ve only got 10 cents to your name, and most importantly, how to love it all.
As the years flew by, Metro and its notorious miniramp grew larger, and slowly but surely, Metro became the only shop in our area that mattered. They hosted every demo, organized local contests and skate missions, ran a skatecamp (for which I was a counselor each summer), held video premieres, and just gave back to the skate community, really. I owe most the good times of my teenage years to Joel and Metro, and I know I’m not the only one. Sadly, all great things must come to an end. Joel announced via Instagram earlier this month that he’d be closing Metro’s retail doors for good (don’t fret! He’ll still be producing Skateline and other content for his Youtube channel). And in typical Metro fashion, Joel brought the entire community together one last time to celebrate Metro’s final hurrah over Memorial Day weekend. It’s better to burn out than to fade away.
One by one, it seems as though the last of the nation’s great skateshops have been closing their doors. I swear I hear about another one every week. And sadly, I know with each closing skateshop, that’s one more skate community left without someone to build the local scene. Because if skateshops give us anything, it’s a local scene (retail is only a small sliver of their function). As someone who knows the benefits of a local shop firsthand, I urge you all to please support your local skateshop. We vote with our dollars in this world, and sure, your kicks might cost you two bucks less over mailorder, but two bucks is a marginal price to pay for the plethora of memories you’ll gain from having a legitimate skate community in your town. Yeah, I know that was sentimental and sappy, but fuck it. Someone had to say it. RIP Metro Skateshop and all the other great ones that have had to close down recently.