After six months of renovating, remodeling, repainting and getting merchandise, Ian Wilhelm and Ashley Bastin will open the Unity Skate Shop, 944 Bay St., in downtown Port Orchard.
“This one is completely ours,” said Wilhelm, a lifelong skater and a founding member of the South Kitsap Skate Park Association, while Bastin competes in roller derby.
“Right now I am taking a break from the roller derby,” said Bastin, who skated for the Northwest Derby Co. and other local teams.
Several of Bastin’s roller derby awards are hung inside the shop.
Wilhelm, along with SKSPA President Leslie Reynolds-Taylor, were instrumental in the construction of the skate park in the South Kitsap Regional Park. They helped raised more than $100,000 for the park.
Wilhelm said there is no skate shops on the Olympic Peninsula.
Wilhelm said the name “Unity” comes from combining skateboarding and roller derby. The 500-square-foot, purple-colored shop will carry brand names of skate boards, roller skates, wheels, accessories, apparel, helmet and protective gear, along with classes for beginning skaters.
“We were tired of having to go elsewhere like Seattle to get our skating equipment,” Wilhelm said. “With the skate park here, all these kids need gear and there is no place to get it except online.”
He said there is a small shop in Gig Harbor and another in Tacoma. Wilhelm added he helped the former KBS open their shop in Port Orchard several years ago.
“There is nothing from here to Port Angeles,” Wilhelm said.
The couple plans to get the younger skaters involved in the community.
“We can get our skate kids involved in the community and the community can get involved with the skate community,” Wilhelm said. “I encourage my kids to do stuff around here.”
Wilhelm said this summer, he and the skaters will do more events and more community-involved events.
“Roller derby leagues will be allowed to advertise here on the sign and hold car washes,” he said.
Wilhelm said when the weather improves, his business will plan skate park tours.
“Every town has a skate park and the kids here don’t get out much,” he said. “We do it already with our group of friends, so we might as well offer it to everyone else.”
The couple noted that young people face plenty of issues and that drugs has spilled into some of the skating community.
“We offer a positive influence to the skaters,” Bastin said.
“We provide a place for the skating kids to hang out,” Wilhelm said.
The shop is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 360-550-8365 or visit their page online on Facebook.