Louisville skate shop has hand in building skate park in Newburg
Home Skateshop has been a meeting spot for Louisville skateboarders for years, and its team recently helped design a new local skate park.
For the last 30 years, Home Skateshop has been a hub for local skateboard enthusiasts to meet other skaters. The team’s passion for skateboarding has extended from building community to building parks, with them playing an important role in designing the Newburg's new skate park in Petersburg Park that opened last month.
“We're here to get skateparks built. We're here to give kids a place to hang out and escape from whatever they're trying to get away from on their skateboards,” said Noah Hulsman, owner of Home Skateshop.
‘It caters to the community’
Alex Hancock has been skateboarding since he was 4 years old. He and his friends from Home Skateshop thought of designs for the Newburg skatepark with local skaters in mind. Along with a quarter pipe, grinding rails and a kicker ramp, the skate park is the first one in the area to include a pump track in its design.
“We can’t end up with another skatepark that doesn't really cater to what the community needs,” he said. “Newburg, for example, that's what I would say is a skate spot. It caters to the community. It's all the fundamentals.”
Hulsman said the new park gives local skaters an opportunity to try new obstacles to develop their skills, and it has brought more clientele to him and other businesses in the Highlands.
“[It’s] keeping people interested, taking people to different parts of the neighborhood that they've never been,” he said. “The amount of people that I have heard come through the skate shop in the last week that have never set foot on the other side of the Buechel Bypass is blowing my mind. … They're going to the gas stations, they're going to the taquerias. They're patronizing all the businesses that are there [and] bringing more economic development there’”
Newburg skate park is one of three skate parks in the area. Hancock said he hopes to continue to collaborate with local leaders to make more for the growing number of local skateboarders.
To celebrate the new addition to the skateboarding community, Home Skateshop held a raffle for free skateboards and helmets to kids at the skate park on its opening day.
How Home Skate Shop became a hub
Hulsman said Home Skateshop is more than a business for him, but rather a home for many generations of skaters, including himself.
With a professional skateboard as his uncle and a grandma who owned a skateboard shop in the 1980s, Hulsman was always around the sport. He was 10 years old the first time he picked up a skateboard, and he remembered always hanging out at Home Skateshop in the early 2000s. His uncle was the owner of the shop at the time.
“I started going into the skate shop and kind of blew my mind a little bit that my uncle used to be a professional skateboarder,” Hulsman said. “And all this craziness was all kind of happening while I'm, at the same time, getting into it.”
In 2016, Hulsman’s uncle offered him the business and he has been running it ever since.
Since he took over, he has used his passion for skateboarding to foster a community of belonging and lifelong friendships. He said skateboarding is unique because all generations of skaters can learn from each other.
“Men in their 30s and 40s still skate with 13 and 14-year-old kids, and we're all on the same level,” Hulsman said. “With skateboarding, there is no coach. … I've had kids show me how they do a certain trick.”
The skateboarding ‘learning experience’
Hancock and Hulsman agree that skateboarding is not only a pass time, but something that helped both of them through tough periods in their lives.
Hulsman lost his best friend Josh Ralston, a fellow skateboarder and skate shop employee, earlier this year. He said his friend was like a son to him and reminded him of why he took ownership of Home Skateshop.
“Talking about those kids that always came in the skate shop to kind of escape what was going on, he was one of those kids,” Hulsman said. “If it wasn't Josh, it would be somebody else.”
Hancock said the skate shop was like a home for him growing up.
He said he needed something to help him let out his frustration, and he found it when he picked up his skateboard. When he would fall or mess up a trick, he said he had to motivate himself to keep going. Getting back on the skateboard taught him how to get through his hardships.
“Skateboarding has definitely taught me, and I've seen it teach so many other kids that it's OK to fail,” he said. “Your failures are actually your milestones to get back up and just make sure you can do it. [Skateboarding] helps you roll with the punches of life way easier.”
Support for this story was provided in part by the Jewish Heritage Fund.