Skateboard Shops: Know Before You Go!
Is it time for new wheels? Want to buy a board for yourself (or someone else) for the first time? Are you grabbing a few copies of the latest Transworld Skateboarding magazine? Head to your nearest skate shop! Whether you’re a regular around there or a complete newbie, it’s best to be prepared before you go, and we’re here today to help!
First, you’re going to need to find a skate shop, if you don’t have one to which you’re already loyal. While Googling “skate shops near me” will definitely return results, we’d suggest you try Yelp.com if you haven’t already. It's a business search engine that allows you to narrow your search area by adjusting the map and then will return results to you based upon ratings and reviews by other users. And when it comes to skate shops, you want a good honest place. People are vocal about great stores, so trust the masses to help you find a killer business. Start by searching for “skateboard shop” with the area being the city or town where you live, and then go from there.
You’re likely to come up with loads of results ranging from the usual sporting goods stores (think the kind that also sells canoes, tents, and basketballs), to hardware stores (believe it or not, some do sell skateboards!), to colossal skate/punk retailers like Zumiez and PacSun. Amidst all of these choices, you will find a few diamonds in the rough – the local skate store owned and staffed by lovers of all things skateboarding. THAT is the place you want to go. While the other stores are satisfactory in their own right, a genuine skateboard shop will offer you the best experience and all of the benefits we are about to share with you.
Once you’ve got a place in mind (or maybe you’ve already got a great storefront you love!), here are a few things to remember. Firstly, you’ll want to have some idea of why you’re there, even if you know it's only to browse. Staff at great stores will offer to help you as soon as you arrive, and knowing what you want, even some small idea of what you might want is super helpful to the salesperson.
Let’s take a quick minute here and make a point that might seem obvious: Don’t try to impress the salesperson. Be honest about your knowledge of products or lack thereof. One of the worst things you can do is walk in and try to look cool or educated to the staff. There’s no need to impress anyone; if you’re looking to buy a board for your nephew or granddaughter and you know nothing about skating, say so! They won’t judge you, in fact, they will be of MORE help to you because they will know the right questions to ask as a follow-up. If you over or undersell your knowledge and skating ability, you might walk out of the store with the absolute wrong product, and that’s a bummer for no one but you, my friend. In our experience, the staffers at local skate outfits are very kind and not judgmental, so speak freely about your level of knowledge and skill.
The salespeople at these stores are basically like professors at a mini-skateboard university. Selling skate gear is what they do with their life, and they know a TON about it. We recommend asking as many questions as you can and then actively listening to the answers. Unless they say something totally off-the-wall (hasn't happened to us yet), trust their advice. It's their job, and they know what’s up. Let’s say you walk in hoping to buy a specific skateboard and based on your skills the salesperson recommends against it, listen up. Odds are they know what they’re talking about and you might be way happier shredding on a different piece of equipment. Look at it as an opportunity to build relationships with some of the most knowledgeable skaters in your area. The employees are a treasure trove of info. They should be your first ask when you’re looking for gear, recommendations, spots to skate, insider tips – anything!
Lots of people walk into a skate shop looking to buy a skateboard, either for themselves or someone else. If that’s you, RAD!! We are stoked you want to start skating, or continue shredding with a new setup! If you hit up your local skate shop you’re definitely in the right place, but be advised, you might not leave the shop with a skateboard that same day. Chat with the salespeople and get their advice. Choosing a board can be difficult (if you want to simplify the process, see our How-To here!), and it can be deeply personal. Don’t be disappointed if you leave without a board or need to gather some follow-up info before settling on your purchase. You’ll be glad you put in the effort and eventually ended up with the perfect product!
Although you might think that all skateboards are created equal (especially if you’re not a skater), it’s important to be committed to purchasing the correct gear for yourself or someone else. The right equipment can make all the difference in your experience of the sport! If you aren’t sure, and you NEED to make a purchase that day (I’m looking at you, dads shopping on Christmas Eve, ha!), we suggest a gift card and some skate stickers. Any skater will flip (pun intended) for money to spend on skateboarding gear, and skate stickers are always sick. Sometimes your local shop will toss some your way for free! And if you want to make the gift extra legit, throw in a set of Board Blazers - they'll elevate anyone's night skate experience for sure!
Getting to know your local skate shop is a great experience, and knowing what you need and what to expect before you head out the door will enhance your experience. So what are your favorite local haunts? Hit us up on Instagram @BoardBlazers and let us know! We blaze all over, and who knows? You might just run into us at your killer local skate shop next time you’re there!