The Grove entertainment/business district welcomed many new and unique businesses to the neighborhood since early this Summer. At the end of July, No Coast opened its doors as the first ever skate shop in the Grove, attracting skate board enthusiasts from around the city. Tara Bolen sat down with Bryan Bedwell, owner and operator of No Coast to chat about his new store and his skate park initiative, Kings Highway Vigilante Transition (KVHT).
Tara: Tell me about yourself.
Bryan: I am the owner and operator of No Coast Skateboards along with my wife Cydney. We have two children, a daughter named Lily (12) and a son named Koen (3). I was born and raised on the South-Side of St. Louis City in an area known as Dutchtown and have been skating for almost 20 years. I am also the chairman of the board for local 501© (3) Nonprofit KHVT and a full-time lineman for AT&T.
T: Why did you decide to open No Coast in the Grove?
B: It has always been a dream of mine to open a skate shop. We looked around the city in the up and coming commercial districts for almost a year before we chose the Grove. Since the Grove is centrally located, we thought that it would be a perfect location. There is so much going on in the entertainment district from the new streetscapes to the remodeling of old buildings, not to mention all of the exciting neighborhood events. Also, since things are still getting moving, the rent is still very cheap in comparison to most commercial areas of the city.
T: How is No Coast unique to other businesses in Forest Park Southeast?
B: We are the only skate shop in the neighborhood that offers a place for skaters to come hang out as well as skate on our indoor mini ramp. We also offer a place for the kids and there isn’t a lot of businesses here that cater to kids like we do.
T: What would you like the greater Forest Park Southeast area to know about No Coast?
B: Skateboards isn’t the only thing we sell, we also offer shoes, clothing, pads, roller derby gear, equipment, and art for sale as well as custom board design and beginner lessons. There is also a mini ramp located in the back of the store. The ramp is open during our normal business hours. Skateboarders pay $3 and can skate as long as they signed a waiver and wear a helmet.
Days and times for free sessions on our mini ramp:
Sunday 11am-1pm 12and under skate Free
Tuesday 6-8pm Ladies skate free
Wednesday 6-8pm Students skate free
Thursday 6-8pm 30 and up skate free
T: Can you please tell me more about your skate park initiative KHVT?
B: The St. Louis based nonprofit organization KHVT’s mission is to advocate for and provide safe free public recreational facilities for the underserved skateboarders of the City. We founded this organization to raise funds for the Kingshighway Skatepark originally, but now with the bridges eminent demise we have switched gears to our “STL Skategarden Project”. Our goal is to build small skate spots surrounded by gardens in every neighborhood of the City! Our focus is on the 14th ward right now. We are working very closely with Alderman Howard and the neighborhood associations of the ward and are on the verge of buying an abandon lot on Morganford from the city’s Land Reutilization Authority (LRA). Construction is expected to begin in early spring and we will have our first of many Skategardens complete by summer 2012.