Jamie Duran had an epiphany one day at a family gathering: his life needed a purpose. Unemployed, the 35-year-old Duran wanted to offer something new to his community, something that would encourage kids to approach a new hobby. And he needed a new hobby too.
Duran proposed the idea of opening a family skate shop that he would run and maintain.
With the support of his family, Duran opened up ‘4Ever Skate Shop’ on West 26th Street near South Kildare Avenue in October of 2011. His parents already owned the dual-purpose building, so Duran does not have to pay rent.
The shop is located four blocks away from the only skate park in Little Village, which opened five years ago.
“Coming here helps ease my mind and escape for a few hours,” said Estevan Aundule, a student and resident of Little Village. “It feels great.”
Duran said opening the shop next to the park made sense.
“When I was growing up I had to go to the North Side or the suburbs just to pick up parts or even a new board,” Duran said. “Now kids have a place to go relax and purchase a specific item that might be needed.”
Posters hang on every side of the walls inside the shop. Kids play XBOX while they wait for help. The ‘4Ever Skate Shop’ has a homey feel to it.
“Duran is fun to talk to.” said Pedro Tapia, 15, a student. “It’s a hang out spot. Sometimes I like coming here after school and playing video games.”
Samuel Roman, 14, a high school student agreed.
“I like the fact that I can come chill with my guys and buy what I need,” he said. “I don’t have to go far to find something I need.”
Duran interacts with his customers with a calm welcoming manner. He helps them buy what is necessary and gives out tips on how to land a specific move someone might have been trying to land.
Duran has been skating since 1988. He has good tips to share with his customers, he said. “Since my target market ranges from 15 to 18 year olds, I relate to them more on a personal level and make them feel like home,” Duran said.
In addition to repairs, the skate shop sells tools, posters, skateboards, apparel and other interesting items, and skate. A blank board is the best seller because people like to customize their boards with graffiti, stickers and artistic images, Duran said.
The Little Village skate shops is located at 4333 W. 26th Street. It is open from 12 p.m. to 7 p.m everyday except Sundays when it closes an hour earlier at 6p.m.