Skate shop supports local students

Liz Stephens, City Reporter

While the weather may be freezing, one group will not be ice skating this season.

Local skateboarders no longer have to worry about frostbite, or any other weather related injuries, as they carry out their hobby, thanks to a new hang out in Charleston.

Board of Education Skate Shop, located on The Square, made its debut during the “Christmas in the Heart of Charleston” festival Dec. 3, 2016.

The recently opened business has a mini ramp, box and two exit ramps on which skaters can perform tricks after paying a $5 entry fee.

Luke Owen, a longtime skater from Mattoon who built all of the shop’s ramps, said he is stoked to have a weather-resistant place where he and his friends can skateboard and meet other people who share their passion so close to home.

“Before Board of Education, people like me and my buddies had to go super far out of our way to hang out at a place like this,” Owen said.

Owen said he would commute to an indoor skate place in St. Louis, but it was difficult to convince most of his local friends to travel that far to skateboard for a few hours.

“Now I can call up basically any of my buddies, and if they’re not busy, they’ll be on their way in seconds,” Owen said.

Business owner Terence Tarver said skateboarding often has a bad face and he wants to change that.

Tarver moved here from North Carolina, where he skated for about 34 years at Deville Skate Shop there and learned how to skate by watching other people.

“I started out riding BMX when I was about seven years old,” he said.

Tarver opened the business to expose people to the lifestyle of skating.

He works one-on-one with the children and adults who come to the shop and said that he has more personal connections with the individuals who skate in his shop.

Tarver added the hardest part of owning the shop is finding a balance between lifestyle and business because there are students who come to skate and can’t afford to pay him.

The business receives a lot of support from local kids, and often kids spend anywhere up to five hours skateboarding in his shop.

“I’ve never turned a kid away over money,” he said.

Tarver cooks at Buffalo Wild Wings to pay for the shop and hopes to expand the business in many ways.

Tarver is looking for a graffiti artist to design art for skateboards and for the clothing line he hopes to start.

Tarver and the skaters at his shop are working on building a skate team to take into schools to do promotions and introduce skating to schools.

He is providing academic discounts to students for having good grades.

The business also has skate supplies such as shoes, skateboard decks, trucks and wheels for people to purchase.

Board of Education Skate Shop is hoping to implement a tutoring program next spring or summer where if a student brings up their GPA and has proof by report cards or transcripts, they will receive a free skateboard.

The business also wants to implement a summer camp for children where kids can skate and personalize their own skateboards.


Molly Dotson contributed to this article.

Liz Stephens can be contacted at 581-2812 or [email protected].