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Square One Skate Shop hosting fundraiser amid financial struggles

Updated: May 31

By Emily Stewart

Square One Skate Shop is seeking help from skateboarders and enthusiasts to prevent the shop from closing.

The skate shop will be hosting a fundraiser and skate contest at the Rotary All Wheels Park June 15 at 5 p.m. All proceeds from the event will go to support the shop.

The fundraiser comes after owner Scott LeBlanc posted a video called “We Need Your Help” on the Square One Skate Shop’s YouTube channel. LeBlanc said in the video that his accountant suggested he close up the shop due to lower-than-ever revenue. LeBlanc said to the St. Marys Independent that customers from out of town are showing their support by coming to the shop on 29 Water St.

“People as far as Toronto and Hamilton area are concerned and driving all the way and buying massive amounts,” LeBlanc said. “It’s hard explaining to people that see that much value in something that you are struggling. They can’t comprehend how that could even happen when they’re willing to go all that way.”

Most of the Square One customers live outside of St. Marys. Many of the out-of-town customers remark on how much better the selection is than major brands such as West49 or Zumiez and how there aren’t any other skate shops like Square One.

“It’s been great having so much support from so many neighbouring cities, but at the same time, without any day to day walk ins, it has been less than ideal,” LeBlanc said.

The owner of Square One also said most people who run a skateboarding shop do so because they are passionate about the sport, rather than for profit, and want the younger generations to experience the same joy they had growing up skateboarding.

“We do it because we love something that we’ve seen touch and change so many lives,” he said. “Giving back to the very thing that taught us to never give up. Skateboard shops usually support the youth of the community by offering not only the culture and equipment but valuable lessons. The things I’ve learned skateboarding I still use every day in my day-to-day life. It offers kids an outlet for their energy and a possibility to make new friends.”

LeBlanc said that if he were to close the St. Marys shop, he would either work in the skateboarding industry or open a shop elsewhere. However, he has spent most of his life in St. Marys from the time he was 11 years old and would rather keep Square One Skate Shop running.

“I would very much rather be able to stay here and offer this community something it has always lacked,” he said. “Options for the youth; growing up here felt like you had not many options if you didn’t play team sports or (didn’t) want to wear athletic clothing. Giving kids opportunities to possibly excel at other things in their lives is my main goal.”

More information can be found on the Square One Skate Shop’s Facebook or Instagram pages.


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