Truckstop Shop opensPublished 5:10pm Sunday, April 10, 2011
For the last five years, Chris Pawielski has built a successful business on two wheels, selling and servicing bikes at Cycle and Fitness in downtown Niles.
He’s expanding, opening up a new business, Truckstop Skateboard Shop and tackling a new range of motion: the skateboard.
“I drive by the skate park on the way home,” Pawielski said.
He noticed the park’s popularity and had been thinking of opening a skate shop for a couple of years, waiting for the right location.
In January, he said, he got the call that a space had opened up at 603 N. Second St., just a short walk from the skate park.
“(I was) told the space was open,” he said. “And it was go time from there.”
On March 1, Pawielski started work on the shop’s interior and by April 4, he was open for business.
Open just a few days, he said, “we had to reorder on our third day. Which is cool.”
Along with all the necessary equipment to outfit a professional skateboard, including decks, trucks, tape, wheels, bearings and accessories, Pawielski also recruited an expert in store manager and experienced skateboarder Mike Gard.
“I had to find a local expert,” Pawielski said.
“I’ve been skating since I was 12,” Gard said, participating in competitions for six years.
Both Pawielski and Gard feel the business is needed, with the skate park being a popular place for skateboarders, even those from across the state line.
“There’s not really any skate shops for kids to buy stuff,” Gard said. The sport itself is one Gard believes will continue in popularity.
The product itself is another aspect in high demand. The internet is the shop’s biggest competition, as there are few skateboard shops in the area.
“They (customers) have had no other choices,” Pawielski said. “I just think it’s an untapped market. I just want to give it a shot.”
Pawielski is hoping to bring in more customers and skateboarders in from out of state, something he’s already seeing signs of.
“I don’t even know how they know (about us),” he said. “But I’m happy.”
Though he’s starting slow, Pawielski is hoping to increase the merchandise at the shop, including shoes.
“We’re letting the customers dictate whatever we buy,” he said.
Gard and Pawielski are ordering product at a minimum each week and they’re hoping the shop will be a place not only for kids to stop for whatever they might need but they’re also hoping to get more involved with the skate park and fuel a positive outlet for kids, that can keep them out of trouble.
Hours vary, so Pawielski encourages those interested in checking out the business’ Facebook page for more information and for any current specials.