West Side Skates has been a staple in the Cleveland skating community since 1995. The shop took the reigns as the core shop to buy boards and shoes on the west side of Cleveland, and has done nothing since but grow to further success. Owner Brian Jules has been at the head of the operation since its inception, and has kept the skating community alive by bringing multiple demos and tours to the shop and neighboring Lakewood Skatepark. The Emerica and Vans teams have made their way through West Side’s doors in the past.
The 4,000 square foot space packs in everything a one-stop skate shop needs: shoes, decks, trucks, wheels, apparel, and even an in-house mini complete with pool coping. Previously located only a few feet down the street from their current location, West Side made the move to a new store front as a way to increase the showroom and art gallery by 5 times its previous space.
West Side carries their own custom decks, which are seen with skaters all over the city of Cleveland. The decks vary in colors and patterns but always rep the West Side logo in the center. The shop has a team of skaters representing them on the streets, with some veterans, like Michael Guffey, moving on to bigger sponsors.
We caught up with Jules recently to talk about the shop and what’s been going down in the Cleveland skating scene.
What was the reasoning behind opening your own skate shop/Did you have any experience?
In the 90′s there was no core skate shop in the area, so it was a necessity. I had no experience in retail before opening the store.
What are the sales like at West Side Skates?
Sales between apparel and skateboards are evenly balanced, but our best selling brand is Deathwish.
Who is West Side’s biggest competition?
Just a couple lame-ass snowboard and flea market styled shops.
Any expectations for the next year/Is your shop altering buying for the upcoming year?
We expect sales to continue to be very good to excellent. We hope the increasing sales will mean bigger quantity runs during 2014.
Does the shop work closely with any particular brands?
We work a lot with Nike SB, Vans, and Deluxe.
What are brands doing to work with your shop?
Why did the shop uproot to move only a couple blocks away?
We were able to secure 5 times more space for better opportunities including the addition of a theater room and art gallery.
Who gets privileges to ride the mini in the back of the shop?
The ramp is for team riders, special events, promos, jams, and one weekly night during the winter season. Street cred? You gotta be good!
Any big names coming out of West Side?
Jeff Mikut now designs shoes for Lakai, Eric Viccarone skates for Alien Workshop and Vans but is currently MIA, Kristian Svitak rides for Black Label and 1031, Mike Guffey is on Arcade Skates and Scott and Chris Phaft are Rob Dyrdeks cousins.
You guys host a lot of events and demos. What’s been the most memorable?
Either the Emerica demo because we met Ed Templeton and Andrew Reynolds or the Vans demo because we met Tony Alva and Steve Van Doren.
Any future plans for the shop?
Always finishing it and tweaking it. It’s an ever evolving art project.