This week, in mid October 2019, marks the first anniversary of Sk8 or Die.
When the shop on the West Hill Triangle in Portishead opened a year ago this week we we’re fresh into retail with little experience. The driving force of the project was not because we identified a gap in the market to make money but a void in the town’s culture.
It was reminiscent of that scene in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Benny Hill where the town had no children. I mean, Portishead does of course have children. In fact the demographic has changed over the last couple of decades from over 60’s as the majority, to now younger families. Yet where were the facilities for these younger families? Playgrounds for tots are one thing, and that we have in multitudes, but a skatepark or something like that for the adolescent kids? Barely anything. Because the skating facilities were pretty much non existent – so were the skaters. We wanted to change that. So Sk8 or Die was born, to rejuvenate and encourage the skate scene in town.
Pretty much coinciding with the opening of the shop we were in talks with the council to build a wooden halfpipe ramp at Merlin Park about half a mile from the shop. The site already had some skate equipment there but the ground was (and still is) rough and unsuitable for wheels. A halfpipe is an integral bit of kit, it doesn’t need the surface surrounding to be of any sort of quality and it would provide the best purpose built skate facility the town has ever had in its history.
Back in the shop we were making contacts with suppliers and learning how to run a retail business. Can you believe we almost opened with only 18 Tony Hawk skateboards, a couple of MGP stunt scooters, a few JD Bug kids’ scooters and some Sk8 or Die T-shirts? One wall was pro-deck display and every deck was a blank. This wasn’t going to impress anyone.
In the two weeks leading up to the opening we were fortunately given the contact of TKC Sales, a supplier of some of the best skateboards – Element, Plan B, Toy Machine, SOVRN, Flip and Fracture. TKC saved us. We now had a great selection of skateboards to begin trading. From that same supplier we were also able to procure Chilli stunt scooters which were a massive hit in the two months leading up to Christmas.
Since then we have forged relationships with many more suppliers of some of the best skate and scooter brands. Santa Cruz, Powell Peralta, Girl, Chocolate, Alien workshop, Birdhouse, Real and Creature are now on sale at Sk8 or Die.
More scooter brands have been added to our portfolio too – Blunt Envy, Grit, Nitro Circus and coming soon – Sacrifice.
Our clothing range has also expanded. We have a wide selection of men’s and women’s clothing and accessories from socks to coats and hats. Many of which are on sale at great value.
We are indebted to to the local community for supporting us and with the continuation of that support we will do what we can to improve skate facilities in the town and to also supply top quality skate and scooter products at the best prices for you.