For a long-time skateboarding enthusiast who turned a dream of owning his own shop into reality, all roads – and skate parks – seemed to lead to Kentville.
iGot Skate owner Inigo Cuartero, who is originally from the Philippines, has been skateboarding since he was 11 years old. After finishing school, he moved to Hong Kong and worked as a musician for more than 15 years.
He also met his future wife, who is from Kentville. They had a daughter in Hong Kong before deciding to move to Kentville in 2015, when their daughter was three.
Cuartero said there seems to be a “good vibe” in Kentville and a renewed emphasis on recreation under the leadership of Mayor Sandra Snow. He said the timing seems right to open a skateboarding shop and it feels great seeing the dream become reality. The shop is located at 360 Main Street, by the intersection with Church Street.
iGot Skate sells skateboards, accessories, clothing and more. The 43-year-old entrepreneur plans to slowly and steadily build the business and he expects to bring more product in over the coming weeks and months.
“As much as it is a skate shop, I also focus on it being a clothing store and a street wear fashion place,” Cuartero said.
He carries various brands of skateboard components, so customers can essentially build a unique board that best suits them. Starting the first week of June, he’ll also be carrying footwear. Cuartero wants to set the shop apart with “bright, colourful concepts.”
He didn’t hold a grand opening but said the response to the shop has been “overwhelming” since he opened the doors on May 2. He was still putting the finishing touches on the interior that morning and decided to open that afternoon as soon as the paint was dry.
Cuartero said any young skateboarder probably dreams of having his or her own shop. As he grew older, he realized it wouldn’t be easy but he persevered. Cuartero said he is enjoying great support from friends and the Annapolis Valley skateboarding community.
There is a great synergy for the new shop with the opening of the Kentville Skatepark last year. Cuartero said he “sees the promise” for the park and the positive impact it could have on his business. He credits Kentville Skatepark Association president Matt MacLeod for leading the effort to establish the park, which now draws enthusiasts from all over the province.
“I would not have met a lot of these cool people if it wasn’t for the skatepark,” Cuartero said.
Although there are other facilities around, he said Kentville’s park with its unique design sets the town apart in the Annapolis Valley. He said it might serve as a catalyst for other neighbouring communities to invest in similar modern skateboarding infrastructure.