Published on September 19th, 2013 | by Michael Fitzgerald1
Checking in on the daily grind at Grit City Grindhouse
One of the three owners, Kevin Carlton, a University of Puget Sound business school graduate who oversees Grit City’s sales and marketing, talked to me about how things have been going at the skate shop. He and CFO Robert Boyle have been organizing the business side of things for Grit City, while Taylor Woodruff creates art, products, and handcrafted skateboards to sell.
Carlton said most of the art you see adorning the shop was created by Woodruff. There’s also a “Skate ‘n Live” mural by Fab-5 teacher David Long.
Besides selling skateboarding essentials, Grit City Grindhouse also has a lounging area which includes a Nintendo 64 for kids, which gets used often. Carlton notes there aren’t too many other places locally where youth can hang out.
Grit City Grindhouse has quickly become a hub for Tacoma’s skater culture, which features lot of talent but until now not a lot of organization.
The shop gets a lot of visitors due to their weekly skate classes and because of their location; skaters like to hang out and skate down the 7th Avenue hill. “The hill is amazing, we’re spoiled by the location” Carlton gushed.
Apparel comes from mostly from local sources like Tacoma Skate Co., Tacoma Apparel Co., Flow Wolf, Rain City Clothing, Shroom Brothers, Disad, and JD Elquist of Feather & Oar. Currently the Grit City crew is working to create a four-color screen-printing press. Their goal is to help organize the various local apparel makers into a t-shirt collective and help cover costs for distribution.
Right now the shop is gearing up for the winter. Carlton said they were about 80 percent sure they’ll remain in their location once their Spaceworks grant period is up, and if not they’d prefer to stay close by.
The shop recently started working with students from the University of Puget Sound business school who Carlton calls “ninterns” or “non-interns.” These students cut their teeth working as small business consultants assigned to projects through the business school. They’re helping Grit City write a business plan and do market research. “It’s an immensely helpful free resource,” said Carlton.
The skate shop owners are also working with local company Alchemy Indoor to help create an indoor skatepark and education center. These organizations are all working together, gearing up for the next Go Skate Day, an official city holiday that occurs each summer.
Until winter comes, Carlton is keen on spreading the word even further about their shop, and to continue hosting weekly skate classes. They post updates about classes via Facebook. On October 12, Grit City will host the record release for local rapper Rockwell Powers. The show is great opportunity to check out the shop and enjoy some local music.
Grit City Grindhouse is located in downtown Tacoma, around the corner from the Webster Apartments at 7th Avenue and Court C (map link). They’re open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 am to 7 pm.