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What you need to know about COVID-19: September 24, 2020
Three Charlottetown entrepreneurs have launched P.E.I.’s first skateboard manufacturing business.
Capitalizing on what they’re calling a worldwide resurgence of the sport, Jamie Crawford, Jeffrey Lockert and Emily Cornish have opened a workshop in the neighbourhood of Sherwood manufacturing skateboards and T-shirts.
All products display the name of the business — SureWood Skateboards.
“There has been a strange awakening. It was like a crazy mid-life crisis wave.’’
- Jamie Crawford
The timing of starting the business couldn’t be better for the trio. They’ve been one of the main suppliers at Town City, a shop that opened July 3 on Queen Street in Charlottetown, selling skateboards and skateboard apparel.
When Town City struggled to get product in due to COVID-19, SureWood Skateboards stepped in.
“They are breathing new life into the skating community," Lockert said of Town City.
Crawford and Lockert are childhood friends who used to skateboard together all the time. They went their separate ways after graduating from high school in 2005.
However, when the pandemic shut everything down in March, Lockert approached Crawford with the idea of making skateboards.
“When we got back on the boards, they just weren’t the same thing that we had ridden when we were younger," Crawford said.
“We could tell the only way they were keeping the price (low) was by dropping the quality of the boards. Jeff came to me very passionate that he could make skateboards the way that they used to be made – really high quality – and that we would have enough options to be able to customize (skateboards) if people wanted us to do something special for them."
Jenna Greeley, who co-owns Town City with her husband, Ryan, said there are more people skateboarding now than ever before, pointing to several factors such as the popularity of pro skater Tony Hawk in the 1990s and the sport’s introduction to the next Olympic Summer Games.
“There has definitely been a big surge in its popularity," Greeley said, adding that a lot of people took it up as a new hobby when the pandemic hit or simply started up again.
Greeley said not only has there been a surge in popularity but it’s not just a sport for school-aged children as it attracts all sorts of age groups.
“There has been a strange awakening," Crawford said.
“It was like a crazy mid-life crisis wave."
Cornish said skateboarding has gone through a renaissance of sorts over the years.
“The vibe has changed," Cornish said.
“People are a lot more encouraging of others than pushing them to do more ... to do all these crazy tricks. It was very competitive before, and it’s now much more communal."
Inside the workshop in Stratford sit dozens of boards with splashes of different colours and graphic designs, all based on what the customer wants.
Greeley said she and Ryan believe the skateboarding market in Charlottetown is sustainable, explaining that it’s something people are doing year-round now.
Greeley said they hope to make it even more sustainable by pushing for more indoor skateboard parks. At present, only Summerside has an indoor park. Stratford, Cornwall and Charlottetown all have outdoor parks.