For the past four years, Mario Aguilar and Miguel Rivera have been trying to reopen Incite. The skate shop opened in 2014 at Farmers Branch, but because of their inexperience and low inventory, the founders were forced to close the store.
Since then, they have learned from their mistakes and plan to reopen this summer in Lewisville — a suburban area they say attracts the skating community to the city-funded Scion Skate Park. They know there is a stronger connection with local skaters there.
“A lot of people like it,” Aguilar says. “A lot of people know us from back then and know who we were. We made it kind of like a family.”
Aguilar, 23, and Rivera, 24, say they were young and unorganized when they first opened the shop, which sold boards they designed, along with clothing and other skate gear. They were living the dream of operating a skate shop, but they had too many problems.
For example, they say that they didn’t really have a plan to attract customers.
“We should have been advertising or going out there talking to people,” Rivera says.
They also ran into an inventory problem. They didn’t have enough to make profit. They were selling their products, but only enough to pay rent and not enough to replenish what they sold.
It was difficult to manage the shop because both had two side jobs.
“There were times were we couldn’t even go ourselves,” Aguilar says. “So, we would be closed and not make money.”
They never let go of their passion of owning a local skate shop. They soon found alternatives ways to sell and advertise their merchandise and saw that they still had the potential to reopen.
They started to sell their merchandise online, at local skate parks, through local destination pickups and by social media. They understand how vital it is for a small business to have an online shop and want to let new or old customers know that they can trust their product.
“Even through people are online shopping, it's like really hard for a small business to get people to shop at their online website,” Rivera says. “Especially when they're unknown, they don’t really know what their getting.”
They design and build their skateboarding decks from Clutch Distribution, a California skateboarding manufacturer, and sell them for $30. Rivera, who designed the logo, says that Lewellyn’s Print shop, located in Deep Ellum, manufactures the T-shirts. The shirts can be purchase for a $10 or more.
They sell their product for a low price because they want people to try out their brand and later sell it for a higher price.
“If you’re a skateboarder, then you know that there’s a difference between corporate skate shops and core shops,” Aguilar says. “Core skate shops, the ones that are own by local people, people like us, actually know the local skaters.”
Aguilar and Rivera realize they are up against cooperate retail skate stores. They know that corporate stores have a lot of merchandise but say that their product is outdated and lacks quality.
“I’m all about quality not quantity,” Rivera says. “All the shirts, we go through them and pick the best quality ones we can; were not going to charge a crazy amount. Same thing with boards, we test samples out before we put an order in.”
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Aguilar and Rivera also say that they have the advantage of having a stronger relationship with the local skate community. Aguilar says he likes to get feedback from local skaters over design ideas and constantly sees sale results.
Aguilar and Rivera say they are ready to operate the store and hope to attach new and old skaters from the community.
“Obviously it’s still a business, you still want to make a living for yourself,” Rivera says. “The shops goal has always been to have that community were people can be comfortable to come to our store. Even if you don’t buy anything just hang out.”
Aguilar and Rivera say they are deciding on two leasing space at the Lewisville Lakepointe Crossing shopping area. They plan to open by the end of this month or by next month.