When it comes to finding the right skateboard gear, talking to area skateboarding pros is a must. These are the pros who know what sort of wear and tear that board, and your body, will see in the Detroit area. No matter your need, nobody beats these five area skateboard shops.
Refuge Skateboard Shop
24334 Michigan Ave.
Hours: Tues to Fri – 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat – 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sun – 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Refuge is the shop even other skate shops call the best. Celebrating his 10th anniversary at the store, owner Eric Ziembowicz simply works to provide skateboarders with everything they need for the sport they love in the city he loves. Refuge offers a wide selection of the best gear, clothing and repair parts, all at the hands of staff that wants to make your boarding dreams a reality.
Launch Board Shop
1200 south University
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sun – 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.
A lot of stores sell skateboards, but Launch in Ann Arbor is the only core skate shop in Ann Arbor, and the staff is made up entirely of skateboarders. These people understand what you need in your gear before you know you need it. With a huge assortment of shoes, boards and apparel, Launch has you covered from head to board. And like every other of the top five shops, Launch works to stay involved with the skateboard community by sponsoring events and musical groups that appeal to the skateboarding set.
Chiipss Skateboard Shop
991 N. Mill St.
Plymouth, MI 48170
Hours: Mon to Fri – 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sun – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
The Old Village of Plymouth doesn’t typically bring skateboards to mind, but if you are a true boarder, then you know and love Chiipss. The shop has been in business since 2007. In addition to the top-of-the-line boards and other gear it carries, it also sells a design of its own, the One Percent line. Boards and graphics are designed by owner Pat Miller and are made in the United States, one of the few boards made in the country.
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33335 Grand River
Farmington, MI 48336
Hours: Mon to Sat – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sun – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
According to Rob Woelkers, owner of PluSkateboarding, it is easy to find products in other shops, but what matters is how customers are treated and how the shop gives back to the community of skateboarders. The skateboarding family extends to ever boarder, he said, so the shop hosts camps in the summer to teach kids and bring that family together to celebrate the community and art form.
Detroit City Skateboard
6019 N. Wayne Rd.
Westland, MI 48186
Hours: Mon to Fri – 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sat – 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Sun – 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Detroit City Skateboards reaches a wide range of skateboarders and offers a huge range of products for them. From top-of-the-line boards to an extensive shoe selection, Detroit City covers every base. And like each of the other shops, all of those you deal with at the store is a boarder. Detroit City also sponsors riders, events throughout the year and each weekend, makes the parking lot of the Westland store into an impromptu skate park. If some of the boards’ graphics seem familiar, it may be because they were created by local artists who display their work in the store.
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Award winning freelance writer and photographer Lawrence DiVizio is based in Southeast Michigan and works to convey in words and images the world around us. His work can be found at Examiner.com.