For some, skateboarding is more than a sport or a pastime — skating is a way of life.
“It is ‘Skate or Die,’” said Anthony Robinson, owner of The Museum Skate Shop, referencing the title of a popular 1988 Nintendo video game.
The shop at at 201 Main St. in Oneonta, which opened Dec. 9, is a collection of all things that speak to an eclectic skateboard crowd. There is original Andy Warhol-inspired art on the walls, homemade T-shirts and stickers, jewelry and clothing from local artisans, as well as several different styles of skateboards, wheels, and accessories. In addition, there is a selection of top, name-brand clothing, outerwear and shoes.
“We have Converse, Vans, Doc Martens and these Air Jordans 5 ‘Bel-Airs” — named for the Fresh Prince,” Robinson said. “I carry all the freshest stuff in the world.”
Robinson, a Brooklyn native, started skateboarding about 10 years ago while he was living in Oneonta.
“This kid — we call him ‘Skate Boi P,’ but his real name is Patrick Thomas — he always used to pick me up and I’d watch him skate,” Robinson said. “He was sick — I mean he could do some real sick tricks. So I wanted to try it. We started first doing hills, like coming down Chestnut by West Street to the park. Sometimes we would do Center Street. Next thing I know we are doing rails and the half pipe. I am fearless. But I still like to kick and push, you know just roll on down the road.”
The Museum Skate Shop sells all things a skateboarder might need, but it also offers attitude. There is an empowerment that comes with the skate culture. It seems to encourage kids to explore the possibilities of fashion, fun and balance while determining what their generation will mean to the community.
“I want to have some events this summer, bring people together, let them see the talent we have here,” Robinson said.
Robison began thinking about opening a skate shop when he started a skateboarding club several years ago. He said there was no place for skateboarders to get equipment except at Sport Tech, and they only had a limited selection of skateboards.
“This shop is about the community,” Robinson said. “If you are a part of the community you belong here. I encourage anyone with an idea or a product or a piece of art to come see me. I want to help people get together — those people who create with those people who want creative stuff.”
Thursday afternoon, two guys came into The Museum Skate Shop to check on some locally made stickers Robinson was selling for an area artist. They wanted to see if the shop needed more inventory.
“I feel like art is really what people want it to be,” Robinson said. “So, this is the people’s museum. I’ll put just about anything on exhibit here.”
Robinson said he has had tremendous community support, and his location on Main Street is affordable. He also has investors and family who support his endeavor. Robinson’s young son is by his father’s side throughout the afternoon, and Robinson’s cousin, Vincent Rey, a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals, is planning a visit to the skate shop this summer.
Robinson is expanding the shop. He is renovating the lower floor which will more than double his retail space. He hopes to have a grand opening toward the end of February.