Towards the end of his career as a professional skater, former New Deal pro John Montesi decided to stay within the industry, and in 1997 opened West Side skate shop. Going on 12 years, the two shops are packed to the gills with gear, and with a team strong enough to release legit skate videos, West Side is an integral part of the Florida scene.
What made you decide to open a shop in the first place?
My pro career was getting to its end and there were no core skate shops in my area so it made sense. It's all I know so I figured 'why not open a shop and make skateboarding better in my area?'
TWB: How's business this year compared to last year?
Slower, but we are trying to buy smarter and make cuts where they are needed to keep expenses down to a minimum.
TWB: Have you noticed a change in the past few months?
The two months before the election were like a graveyard, but it is starting to seem a little better—Christmas will tell all.
TWB: Which brands do well in the Tarpon Springs?
Nike, Sole Tech, Lakai, Girl, Chocolate, and Baker are the strong ones this year.
TWB: How do events, like contests or demos, help with the shop's business?
A lot. Not only do you show the skateboard community you are down and care about skateboarding, but you give the kids things to do in what they love. They can win a contest or go and get a free shirt at the product toss or meet their favorite pro at an autograph signing.
TWB: How close is the closest skatepark? How does it help with business?
About 45 minutes away is the SkatePark Of Tampa. We work together to support the skateboarding in our area, so it is good!
TWB: Approximately how big is your core group of customers?
I would say three-quarters of my business is core.
Check out West Side online at westsideskateshop.com, or at one of these fine locations:
The Infamous Westside Skateshop
39332 US. Hwy 19 North
Tarpon Springs, Florida. 34689
West Side Skate Shop
15215 US. Hwy 19
Hudson, Florida. 34667