Skateboarder opens #8216;crazy#8217; shop

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2006

Ryan Stapleton is well aware that the idea sounds crazy.

The Coal Grove native had plenty of friends to tell him that a skateboard shop simply wouldn’t work in his hometown … not that he listened.

“People were like ‘You can’t do that in Ironton, what are you, crazy?’” Stapleton said. “Yeah, well, they’re being negative and I’m being positive, so we’ll see what happens.”

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The result of Stapleton’s optimism is Goodwheel Skate Shop, newly opened in a prime skating location in the plaza at the intersection of Third and Center streets. His goal was not just to open a new, local skate shop, but a different kind of skate shop.

“There’s a lot of other places to get boards and stuff, but they’re really expensive,” Stapleton said. “They’re almost making it unaffordable for kids. You help people out, you wind up getting helped out in the end. What goes around comes around.”

Jacob Hammond, 12, is one of those young skaters that Stapleton is trying to help out. He may have only been skating for three months, but he’s found a home away from home at the shop.

“It’s cheap prices, and the stuff’s really awesome,” Hammond said.

He may be an expert in matters of good karma, but Stapleton is a neophyte in the world of business. Surprisingly though, the 18-year skateboarder said that being a small business owner is pretty easy.

“It’s not that hard, really” Stapleton said. “I did basically everything I needed to in one day.”

Of course, the project is the culmination of working, in Stapleton’s words, “crappy jobs” and saving up his bucks. He’s also been supported by a surprisingly large community of local skaters who have frequented his shop since it opened April 3.

“It’s bigger than I thought,” Stapleton said. “When there were 30 kids in here the first few days, I know that not all of them were in that day. There’s more. Plus, we’ve got people coming from all over, Chesapeake, Proctorville, Ashland. People would probably come out a long way because otherwise they’d have to order stuff. Now they don’t have to.”

That stuff that local skaters no longer have to order includes a range of skateboard accessories from parts and protection to clothing. Stapleton said that skating shoes are on the way.

He’s got other plans, including hosting video game contests and skating events — the first of which will be Saturday at 4 p.m. — thereby maybe collecting even more good karma for offering young people a place to call their own.

Goodwheel Skate Shop is located at 112 N. Third St. The shop is open from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and can be reached by phone at (740) 550-1005.