Ryan Greeley is looking to build the skateboard culture in P.E.I. while building his own business.
Greeley hopes to open a shop in Charlottetown in July that will not only sell boards, clothing and footwear but also will buy into a way of life.
“The idea for me is to work with the skate community that is already here to kind of build (on) what is already happening,’’ says Greeley.
“We’ll definitely be a store that is lifestyle driven.’’
Greeley, 40, is no stranger to skateboarding.
The Charlottetown native got his first board when he was only seven or eight – and never really stopped rolling along.
Back in the day when the capital city did not have a skateboard park, Greeley would rumble along the pavement at the Confederation Centre of the Arts until security guards sent him and other skateboarders packing.
An athletic youth, Greeley walked away from a number of sports to solely scoot on a skateboard.
“When a kid gets a hold of skateboarding, they typically give up everything else,’’ he says.
“It was just skateboarding as much as I could.’’
Greeley, who graduated from Dalhousie University with a degree in sociology, has spent the past decade working as a recreational therapist in Ontario at the Peel Youth Village working with at-risk children and homeless youth.
He has always hung on to his youthful love of skateboarding. He still rolls along today.
“I get hurt a little bit more, but I am on my skateboard as much as I can be,’’ he says.
He feels well equipped to connect and interact with what he calls the "very healthy" skateboarding scene on Prince Edward Island.
His wife, Jenna, who studied fashion in Toronto and is a graphic designer by trade, will play an integral role in the business, he says.
The pair have spent the past few years tossing around the idea of opening a store in Charlottetown and leaving Toronto behind.
Greeley feels he has found the perfect location for the business on Queen Street next to Courtside Sneakers, which he describes as a very successful niche store.
“It was always a dream of mine,’’ he says of operating a skateboard business.
Greeley plans to do community events at skateboard parks in P.E.I., adding many Islanders may be surprised by the number of such parks in the province.
“The real main objective is to see more kids on skateboards,’’ he adds.
“It is something you can do on your own. It is fairly inexpensive.’’
Did you know?
- The first manufactured skateboards were ordered by a Los Angeles surf shop, meant to be used by surfers in their downtime.
- The shop owner, Bill Richard, made a deal with the Chicago Roller Skate Company to produce sets of skate wheels, which they attached to square wooden boards.