Gabe, what inspired you to open your own shop?
In a way it kind of just happened. My original plan was to move to California after college and focus on a career as a photographer. However, after going cross-country last summer I realized how much I loved New England. Although the skate scene is better out west, the northeast is my home and I’ve worked hard to improve its scene over the years. From releasing five full-length skate videos to six-plus years of hosting events, I remember wondering at times why I do these things and realized it probably has to do with where I came from. I grew up as the only blader in my town. The first 2.5 years I skated with bikers and skateboarders. Once I could drive I made trips to an indoor park/shop 45 mins away. There I met other rollers and from then on it was a skate trip every weekend. Skaters became part of my family. So getting these types of people together has some sort of satisfaction — it’s good to see old friends, as is getting new people into the sport. Starting a shop was the next step to take in building a foundation for skaters here. So instead of moving west to California I made sacrifices, put everything I had on the line, and just went for it.
The shop name is THURO. What does that mean?
Although skating is my biggest passion and often ALL I want to do, it’s important to recognize other things in life. THURO is having balance. Everyone has responsibilities to take care of — family, bills, work, school. Whatever it may be, handling these things and still finding time to skate is THURO.
Where exactly are you located?
The shop is located at 1837 Post Road in Warwick, Rhode Island. One hour south of Boston and right across the street from T.F. Green International Airport. If you have to fly to the northeast, fly to T.F. Green and check out the shop.
I noticed that you sell other gear besides blading stuff. What’s the reasoning behind that? And what all do you sell?
There are many blade-only shops that have our small industry on lock. THURO is a shred shop. We offer snowboards, skis, surfboards, rollerblades and skateboards. It made sense to offer this gear as I enjoy all the sports. It’s all shredding to me. I’ve gotten a bit of criticism for having non-blade gear, but in reality it’s good to hear non-blader opinions on products, and THURO will expose more people to blading than an inline-only shop would.
What retailers have you been to that do the shop experience right? How about those that do it wrong?
Only inline retail storefront that I’ve visited recently has been Revolution and they are doing it right. I strongly believe having a brick and mortar shop that anyone can walk into and see skate stuff on the walls is crucial to the sport growing. I respect all the online retailers I’ve used over my entire skating career, but if you’re lucky enough to have a shop it’s important to support it!
What plans do you have to inject THURO and your ideology into the local sports communities?
The shop is a place for skaters to congregate, meet up for sessions and premiere videos. It’s here for the community and to get new people into the sport. I will continue organizing local events and trips while educating people about blading.
This past weekend was your grand opening. Who all came out and what went down?
The grand opening weekend was crazy! A lot went down. Saturday we had an open house and sale. Everyone was invited and there was good representation from eastern and western MA, as well as NH, VT, ME and the RI blade scene. Good times were had for sure. Rollerblading legend and RB manager Tom Hyser also made it down from headquarters in NH. It was great to see everyone, watch skate videos and go out together to a local establishment. Sunday the Rhode Island Inline Street Competition was supposed to go down, but due to rain we were forced to move to an indoor park. Despite this last minute change and the poor weather, turnout wasn’t bad. You can see a skate edit from the contest here.
Do you plan to sponsor shop riders, and if so, what do you expect these sponsorships to accomplish?
I will be building a team over the summer. The idea is to have people that meet the philosophy of the shop. Respectable riders that local kids can look up to — Some great skaters often build egos and that’s not THURO.
What is going to differentiate THURO from other blade shops or other sporting goods shops in your area?
First off, we are the only skate shop in the area to acknowledge blading as a legit sport. Second, it’s here for the love and local scene, and finally I think the ideas behind THURO are a bit more wholesome than the mainstream skateboard shops.
Best part of having your own shop? How about the worst?
The best part of having my own shop is it keeps me involved in something I love and dedicated the majority of my life to. The worst part is the financial end. Everything’s on the line, I owe people money and anything I have will be tied up with inventory. Every month will be a new struggle to cover THURO’s bills.
Any parting thoughts you want to share?
Regardless of which sport one may do — no hate at THURO. I aim to offer the best products to people, with the best customer service possible, and THURO is my way of showcasing blading to the public. I want to thank anyone who has supported any of my skating endeavors or helped me out in the past. Especially everyone who found a way to make it to the grand opening! If you haven’t already make sure you “like” our Facebook page.
Thanks, Gabe. Best of luck with everything!
Photos courtesy of THURO.
Interview by the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world.