Skateboarding family grinding at new business


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After seven years with no skateboard store in Chatham, a father and son team came over to fill the void.

Cory Cowan opened the Family Skateboard Company in June with the help of his 17-year-old son Avery. They had been selling boards in a small space outside their Merlin house for about a year before deciding to open on the main drag of downtown Chatham.

“We wanted to do things right so that the dealers would take us seriously,” said Cory Cowan.

Cowan has been a skater since he was six and also works as an agronomist at AGRIS Co-op in Chatham. He is currently the official owner of the skate shop, but he will bring his son – who works full time at the 179 King St. W. Store – as a partner when he turns 18.

Chatham’s last skate shop, High Five, closed in 2014. Cowan said he consulted with the company’s owner, Chris Spafford, before the Family Skateboard Company opened.

He said he didn’t know how interested people would be in the store, but so far the business has grown organically.

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“We just did it on a whim because we love skateboarding. We are very grateful, very humble, ”said the 38-year-old.

“The opening was great. The best part about it wasn’t even the shop. All over Chatham, 50 guys were skateboarding. It was like a big reunion. “

Cowan said he brought all the products he could afford to open and then needs to replenish for the following week.

The store will specialize in the Baker, Deathwish, Heroin, and Primitive brands, but Cowan said they are trying to stock most of the brands.

He is also a collector of vintage boards, usually with 15 to 20 items in his rotating collection. He also sells some of them in the store.

“This market has gotten really ridiculous since COVID,” he said. “I used to get really good things, like rare boards, for $ 100 to $ 300,” and now a $ 100 board could sell online for $ 300 or $ 400.

Cowan said he was becoming more aware of the Tilbury skateboarding scene but knew about the Chatham scene when High Five was still open.

“Chatham has always had a good core skateboarding scene,” he said. “It has taken off a bit like everything comes in waves, but it’s always been pretty strong.”

He said interest in skateboarding in Chatham could even rival London or Windsor.

“I think it might just be because there isn’t that much to do here.”


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