Skateboards. Bikinis. Designer jeans.
Peace signs made in Haiti from recycled oil can lids, too.
And handmade purses from Nepal.
Welcome to Hurricane Skate and Surf, 6600 Manatee Ave. W.
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“It’s eclectic,” said owner Susan Chully of her family business. “There’s a need for a shop like this in this area. When we opened, people said, ‘Are you out of your minds? With this economy?’ But I feel lucky.”
The shop, which opened in April 2009, carries merchandise geared predominantly toward the skateboarding community. A good portion of one wall is covered with skateboards of all colors.
They’ve got exotic brand names, too. Black Label. Creature. Gibbon. Girl & Chocolate. Mystery. Zero.
“There’s a ton,” said Matt Helmer, Susan’s son. “Every company has a different vibe. Some are funny. Some are serious. Some are scary. But it’s all about skateboarding.”
Skateboards range from $20 to $50, plus wheels ($28 to $44) and trucks or axles ($65 to $25).
There are a couple of surfboards for sale, too, but the shop’s primary target is skateboarders.
“This is not the island. That’s the beach culture there,” Helmer said. “The skateboard culture doesn’t need beach to enjoy themselves. Just concrete, rails, curves, driveways, parking garages, stairways.
“The skateboarding niche comes in waves. It’s popular, then it’s not. But diehard kids come back, that’s who we try to cater to.”
During the past five months, though, Hurricane Skate and Surf has begun to diversify.
Besides skateboarding T-shirts and shoes, the owners have added things like designer women’s clothing and jewelry.
“We’re keeping the core skateboards, but my sister and I and my daughter added our style,” Susan Chully said. “We’ve been adding women’s things, designer clothing and jewelry, dresses, bikinis from California, picture frames from reclaimed wood and metal. We’re going to keep broadening and broadening. It’s fun for me.”
It is a family business in the real sense.
“The whole family helps out,” Helmer said. That includes his aunt Sarah and sister Sarah Wortman.
“It’s a good thing we all have full-time jobs. We would probably starve if we didn’t,” joked Susan Chully, a registered nurse at Blake Medical Center.
Tucked away at the east end of a small shopping center, Chully said they’ve tried to be creative to attract customers.
“It’s not real accessible so we’re trying to get something more visible on the street — hanging out sundresses, bathing suits, art,” she said. “If some people think it’s only a skateboard shop, they’ll not stop. But if they realize it’s other things, they will.”
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 745-7055.