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Talking with Reggie Barnes of Eastern Skate Supply

By Shelby Stanger
January 26, 2012 5:30 AM

 

Eastern Skate Supply is arguably one of the largest independent skateboarding distributors in the world, and has been in business for over 27 years.

 

At Surf Expo, we got a chance to catch up with ESS Owner Reggie Barnes and Sales Manager Jocelyne Tracy about the state of skateboards.

 

So how is the business for skateboarding…really?

Booth editedPart of the ESS booth at Surf Expo

Reggie: We’re in the beginning of a growth period. As a company, so much is dedicated to street skating and popsicle shaped boards, but the growth has really been in longboards and cruisers, and that’s the truth even though people are tired of hearing it.

 

You said business was down, and now it’s up?

Skate sales have been down except in the cruiser market. As a company, most of our business was in popsicle shapes though we have shifted our buys and added other shapes. We have always carried longboards, but we have definitely added a lot more.

 

Now for years to come, I think we’ll see growth in skateboarding. I really do.

 

So are shops asking for more shapes and more types of boards?

Nowadays, the average skater has an arsenal of skateboards, so shops should carry a skateboard for everyone. Not just longboards -- boards with soft wheels, boards not designed to just ollie and kickflip.

 

Gas prices are up so kids are using skateboards as transportation. Also it has become fashionable to have a longboard.

 

Jocelyne: Everybody can stand on a board and ride it if you don’t do tricks. My first skateboard was a plastic skateboard way back in the day, and now they are blowing up.

 

See Page 2 for ESS's biggest brand, hot trends

 

 

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