Fringe Box



Indie Of The Month: Decade, The Independent Skate Shop

Published on: 23 Jul, 2020
Updated on: 24 Jul, 2020

By Hugh Coakley

Skateboard shelfs are empty in Decade, the independent skate shop, but owner Greg Foster is not fazed at all.

“There was lots of interest in outdoor sports due to coronavirus and we sold the last skateboard last week,” he said, standing next to an empty skateboard display wall.

“Apparently, we are the only skate shop in the country who has sold out. We only stock the best and we know our customers.”

Greg Foster, owner of the independent skate shop, Decade, talking about the skate scene in Guildford.

And this is after doubling his order for stock in the last quarter. His clothing sales continue unabated both in the shop and online from his website.

He is a busy man, running the shop, doing the buying, the website and the social media. He said: “I do it because we need a skate shop and a skate scene in Guildford.”

Talking to Greg is exciting; he is very driven and intense. He skips between his love of skating, the business, politics and then back to the skate scene in Guildford.

“Young people aren’t catered for in Guildford. Most feel that they have to go London to get what they want.”

And in the time I was chatting with Greg in the minimalist shop in Jeffries Passage in Guildford, its popularity with young males was confirmed.

“There’s no other place like it in Guildford,” said one 16-year-old looking for particular brands of shoes for his skateboarding. “I only started a year ago and I love it. I come here for all my skating stuff.”

Another customer was shopping for her son. “It’s the most original shop in Guildford for young men’s clothes. Everything I buy here, my boys love it.”

Decade in Jeffries Passage, Guildford.

Greg only stocks a handful of brands. “I’m fussy about what we stock. It needs to be relevant to the young.”

And it is paying off for him and for Decade. He was proud to say that Nike SB had chosen his business as an Orange Label stockist for its footwear, one of only 13 shops in the UK with that accolade. “That really puts us on the UK skateboard map,” said Greg.

“I’ve learnt a lot running a business. Dealing with suppliers, landlords, contracts and so on. I’ve also learned that I’m good at being stubborn and trying very hard in everything I do. I’m not good at compromise or giving in or accepting the status quo.

“The shop was a wreck when I moved in in 2011. It was a ‘David and Goliath’ period for the first seven months when the big boys in the industry made it difficult for us here.”

All skateboards sold out in Decade in Jeffries Passage in Guildford due to the coronavirus.

He is a well known person in the town, especially for his role in setting up the skateboard park in Stoke Park.

He said: “There has to be a community in Guildford, not just for the young but for older people as well. There are too many chain shops here.

“What stops this counter culture is the cost of rent and rates in the town and people making decisions on things where they have no experience. Just look at the council’s Pop Up Village!”

He is very optimistic about the future and has considered opening another shop but maybe not just yet. “We opened here in 2011. Only one more before my decade. It’s quite an achievement with all that’s been going on,” he said.

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