The Canadian blading scene is thriving and the blade retailer Shop Task is growing, too. Canadian Correspondent Chris Wedman caught up with Calgary location manager Shaun Unwin to find out more about this addition to the local blade scene. Check it out.
* * * *
This is the fifth Shop Task location! Congratulations. Why did Shop Task decide to expand to Calgary?
We decided to open a store here in Calgary for two reasons: 1) to make inline skating popular and 2) Calgary needs a full-service brick and mortar store.
Calgary is different. No one owns “being a Rollerblader” like Calgarians.
Why a “brick and mortar” store?
When purchasing any item that needs to be customized and fitted, the best way to purchase that item is to go to a professional and get professionally fitted. When you buy a pair of inline skates, you should get fitted and try on different skates in your best size.
Where are you guys located? What makes the location so special?
Shop Task YYC is located in a classic shopping district, across the river from downtown Calgary. The Shop is located along the city’s busiest skating pathway, and very close to one of the largest skateparks in North America.
What is the inline skating scene like in Calgary?
Calgary is made up of multiple amazing scenes. There is an amazing scene of hardcore fitness freaks training on blades for Olympic sports such as cross country skiing and speed skating. There is also an amazing crew of aggressive bladers. There are tons of people who just love to skate the streets and pathways of Calgary.
What is your personal connection to inline skating?
I fell in love with inline skating the first time I put inline skates on. I was 10. The skates were Wayne Gretzky Ultra Wheels. They had bright yellow laces, black boots and bright yellow wheels. Now, I have spent over 20 years of my life on blades. I’ve even beat Richie Eisler in a skate competition 😉 Overall though, my favourite thing I have ever done is teach people how to skate and help people get into skating.
How has the community embraced the shop?
Calgarians and Albertans in general have been very supportive — they have fully embraced Shop Task. We strive to be a part of the community. This year Shop Task has partnered with ISAFE (Inline Skate Association For Everyone), we’ve also participated in and host many community events. We do free skate lessons on the pathway, stunt shows in community festivals, screenings of skate videos in movie theatres. We do our best to maintain a constant presence in the community.
What’s your long-term vision for the shop? Where do you see the shop in 5 years, or longer?
Shop Task will be an institution in Calgary. You want skates? Go to Shop Task. No questions asked.
Learn more about Shop Task at their website!
Interview and Photos by Chris Wedman