The effort to expand Chico’s skate park on Humboldt Avenue has helped create a local buzz about skateboarding, and Katie Lipham is trying to roll with it. She’s co-owner of a new skate shop/clothing store in the Chico Mall called Coast Board Shop, and so far business is solid. Lipham, 35, grew up in Chico, graduated from Pleasant Valley High School and moved to Los Angeles to manage a retail clothing store. She returned to Chico about 2 1/2 years ago and worked as a manager of the Vans store in the mall. That’s where she met her business partner, Josh Morrow, who owns Boards on Nord (now online only). Together, they visited skate shops in Sacramento, Los Angeles and San Francisco, found brands that weren’t available in Chico, and opened the store just before Black Friday. The most popular items are complete longboards, but skaters can also pick out their own decks, wheels, bearings and trucks. Also, the store is hosting a free workshop on how to build, maintain and repair skateboards on April 5 at 6:30 p.m. To RSVP, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did you and Josh Morrow meet?
I sold him and his nephew some shoes at Vans. He started asking me about my experience, kind of had an on-the-spot interview, and we decided to open this business together.
You don’t cater just to men, right?
Being in a college town, you see so many girls riding around on longboards. It’s more comfortable and it’s easier, because you have bigger wheels. I see some girls shredding.
How is your store different from others in the mall?
I really wanted to bring a local feeling into the shop, because the mall doesn’t have that. We have a local section of brands based in Chico, and we have work from a local artist hanging in the window. We like the people who are creating things in town.
Are malls moving away from corporate chains?
I think so. People like it more when it’s smaller like this. We’re really starting to know people in the community, and we can give them the stuff they’re asking for. We are the buyers, so we can actually cater to our demographic. When you’re in a corporate setting, it’s hard for people to feel connected to it. I think the town is starting to feel connected to our shop.
And it helps that Josh owned Boards on Nord?
Absolutely. He already had that name in town, so those customers who shopped at his downtown location are coming here now. We also get all the new people who just walk by who aren’t even skateboarders. They just come in because they like the clothing that we pick out.