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Brainerd Skate Company lands in downtown Brainerd

Brainerd Skate Company opened its doors on Saturday, Sept. 24, and owner Andy Dabbs hopes for it to be a central hangout for the skaters of the area.

Skaterboarders at a popup skate park.
Jake Specht skates at the Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, grand opening of Brainerd Skate Company in downtown Brainerd.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch
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Anton "Andy" Dabbs the owner of Brainerd Skate Company poses for a photo.
Anton "Andy" Dabbs, owner of Brainerd Skate Company, stands in front of his business Sept. 24, 2022, on Front Street in Brainerd.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch

BRAINERD — Though being without a skate park for at least a couple years, Brainerd skaterboarders now at least have a central location in which they can gather.

The newly opened skate shop, Brainerd Skate Company, is owned by Anton (Andy) Dabbs and is located on the 800 block of Front Street. He wanted to create a place that was safe for everyone to hang out while incorporating his BMX and skateboarding past into the business.

Brainerd is currently working on raising money for a skate park at Memorial Park and Dabbs thought providing area residents with access to affordable boards would help peak interest. The skate park project is still in planning stages, but Dabbs thought that the community should be prepared for when it does happen in the future.
Brainerd Skate Company had its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 24. The street in front of the shop was closed down for the Lakes Area Skatepark Association to bring in ramps and skate park equipment for the attendees.

Skaters of all ages gathered from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. to skate, shop and eat a free barbeque lunch within the store.

For hours, there were skaters, BMX bikers and spectators gathered to celebrate the grand opening. The skateboard community in the Brainerd lakes area is a very tight knit community and word of the event spread a lot more than Dabbs had expected.

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“We didn't think there'd be a lot of kids, but it was huge,” Dabbs said. “It was a big turn out, not just kids. We had lots of adults and lots of more people than I expected.”

Interior shots of Brainerd Skate Company.
Brainerd Skate Company offers many different skate products from boards, wheels, apparel and more.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch

Justin Other Human, one of the attendees, has been skating for around 17 years and sees it as a form of expression. He describes skating as a “core part of my identity” and “an amazing form of novelty and artistic self expression.”

Since there has not been a skate park in Brainerd since the Jaycees Skatepark shut down, Human and his fellow skateboarders have to go over to Crosby.

“What I love about the shop now is that I can come here as almost a central meeting point,” said Human. “I mean, (I can) just see who's here and skate with them.”

Brainerd Skate Company is not Dabbs’ first foray into business. He founded the company Lemon Squad in 2007, not expecting it to take off in the way it did. Despite being a one-man company, Lemon Squad expanded nationally. Dabbs has since sold the company but has stayed on for consulting and smaller roles.

Dabbs used his entrepreneurial mindset to start up the Brainerd Skate Company. His goal when opening the shop was to create a spot to keep skaters off the street and provide them with affordable products to help them to keep pursuing their passions.

Anton "Andy" Dabbs the owner of Brainerd Skate Company poses for a photo.
Anton "Andy" Dabbs, owner of Brainerd Skate Company, holds a skateboard Sept. 24, 2022, in his downtown Brainerd skate shop.
Sara Guymon / Brainerd Dispatch

“If I don't ever make a profit I'm OK with that,” said Dabbs. “If I could just get it to pay for itself and pay for (his employee) Drew or anybody else I have working here, I don't care if I ever make $1 off it. I just want it to be able to sustain itself.”

The store is stocked with skateboards, longboards and various other smaller board options. There are also premade boards and individual options in a wide variety of brands. In addition to boards, the shop also carries shoes and other apparels.

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Currently, the shop only has one room filled with products. There is a second area that is still being prepared to hold snowboards and other seasonal items for the winter.
One of the more unique features that the store has to offer is the lounge area toward the back. There is a small hangout section with snacks, couches and an Xbox for leisurely activities.

“Even if they don’t spend a dollar, I want them to have an area to hang out,” said Dabbs. “Keeps kids off the streets.”

Read More
Three different owners shared the same, community centric vision

SARA GUYMON, Brainerd Dispatch, staff writer, may be reached at 218-855-5851 or sara.guymon@brainerddispatch.com

Related Topics: LOCAL BUSINESSBRAINERD
Sara Guymon recently joined the Brainerd Dispatch as a staff writer.
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