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Skateboard shop carves up 25 years
5:00pm Friday 30th August 2013 in News
A SKATEBOARD shop will roll into its silver jubilee with a “skate jam” for hundreds of people in Donnington.
SS20 opened in Cowley Road as Oxford’s first skate and snowboard shop in 1988 and is believed to be the longest-running independent store of its kind in the country.
It will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the Oxford Wheels skate park, in Meadow Lane, on Saturday, September 14, with skateboarding competitions, memorabilia-sharing, live graffiti workshops and more.
It is a “big achievement” for co-founder and keen skateboarder Mon Barbour, who set up the shop with Dave Furneau and Sean Goff.
The 44-year-old from Jericho said: “In 1988 there was no skate shop within a 60-mile radius of Oxford. We knew we had a relatively big audience for it.”
Mr Barbour was 19 when he started the business and said he “feels old” reaching the 25-year mark.
The name “SS20” comes from a Russian nuclear missile that was decommissioned the year the shop opened. Mr Barbour said: “It was a quirky name at the time, and by calling it SS20 it might have put parents off, but only encouraged kids to visit the shop.”
Mr Barbour was formerly chairman of the Oxford Wheels Project, a charity set up in 1997 to push for a permanent wheels-based sports facility for young people.
A skate park was finally built in May after more than £320,000 was raised in 12 years.
It replaced a temporary facility installed at the same Oxford City Council-owned location in 2001.The former wooden structure cost the charity about £10,000 a year to maintain due to rainwater damage.
Mr Barbour said: “It’s a massive achievement to have built the permanent skate park – it was such a hot political potato – so we’re going to hold a skate jam there for everyone.
“Last time (for SS20’s 20th birthday) we held it at an indoor skate park in Corby, Northamptonshire. We can blow our own trumpet this time.”
Amanda Richins, from East Oxford, who volunteers to keep the skate park clean, said: “I think the park caters for those kids who are too old for playgrounds but are too young for pubs – they need somewhere to go.”
SS20’s snowboard sales account for five per cent of the total sold in the UK each year. Online sales make up 70 per cent of the business.
Future plans include converting a warehouse in Oxford into an indoor skate park and opening another shop there.
The skate jam runs from noon-7pm on Saturday, September 14, at the Oxford Wheels skate park, in Meadow Lane.
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