When Rick Castro moved to Redmond, he noticed the popularity of the community skate park and wondered where skaters bought their equipment.
While he had never planned on opening a skate shop, Castro says it seemed like a niche that needed to be filled and a good opportunity to serve the community while doing something he loves.
Castro skateboarded “pretty hardcore” from his childhood until his late 30s. Now in his 50s, he predominantly snowboards.
He opened Redmond Snow and Skate, located downtown on SW Sixth Street, in April 2018. The shop sells skateboards, scooters, snowboards, accessories, protective gear and apparel, and also has a repair shop. In addition, the shop features an indoor half—pipe, which is open for use from 5—7 p.m.
“One of the reasons I opened the shop was that not only did I see that Redmond didn’t have a skate shop but Prineville, Madras, Terrebonne, Sisters — they all have to drive to Bend to get their stuff — or the internet,” Castro said. “But what do they have to drive through? They drive through Redmond. I save people an hour, plus they don’t have to deal with Bend. They get a good experience and a good deal here. It’s a win for everybody.”
In January, the Redmond Chamber of Commerce recognized the shop with the “new business of the year” award for 2018.
Castro attributes the success to the way that Redmond and the surrounding areas have embraced the shop.
“It’s great to see that Redmond recognized us as not the scourge of the community, like most skate shops tend to be,” he said.
From the beginning, Castro set out to make the shop a wholesome place that parents would be comfortable sending their kids to shop for gear. The shop’s customer base reflects that — with everyone from kids to grandmothers coming in.
Building trust with parents and rapport with the community has been a focus of the shop.
In September they held “the JimJam,” a competitive event at the Redmond skate park with more than 100 people in attendance. The event was named after Jim Mandel, one of the shop’s sponsored skaters.
The community was instrumental in the event, said Mandel. “A ton of people came out and helped.”
While kid-friendly, the event was open to skaters of all ages. “The guy who won it was like 42 or something, and he killed it,” said Mandel.
The shop also offers two competitive groups — Skate Klub and Skoot Kw lub — for skateboarders and scooter riders. Members in the groups have to complete tricks in eight different levels — some tricks must be done at specific skate parks around Central Oregon — taking video and uploading it to Instagram.
“It’s sort of like karate, so every level there’s a different color shirt to earn,” Castro said. “It’s meant to go out with your friends, go skate or scoot, video yourselves, put it online and then get credit through the shop and move through the ranks. The eventual goal is to get sponsored by the shop.”
Sponsored skaters act as shop promoters and receive free stuff in return.
— Lydia Valenti, firstname.lastname@example.org