Once a skater, always a skater.
At least that’s the case for Kenny Michaels who, along with his wife and their three kids, sold their house in Arizona and moved to Florida in the midst of a pandemic to open the only indoor skate park and skate shop in St. Pete Beach.
On August 21, Koncrete Party Skateboards opened its doors to a 3,001 sq. ft. skate park and skate shop at 7470 Gulf Blvd.
“I think every kid has the dream to build something really cool or create something really cool. [For me] it was my dream skateshop,” Michaels said.
When Michaels was 16 he dedicated his afternoons to his family’s car shop, customizing cars and consequently breathing in toxic fumes and exhaust. Being a young entrepreneur, Michaels designed a back-up plan to escape the car business, putting his profits toward a skateboard business.
Eventually, he started developing and designing skate decks – the “board” part of a skateboard. However, when Michaels tried to find a distributor, he ran into elitism within the industry.
“Everybody is taking the biggest companies up front and taking their orders and the small companies don’t get any orders in, so it’s hard for us to print our own graphics for our boards,” Michaels said. “Hopefully the industry sees these smaller companies and recognizes the work that’s being put in, and they can do something to help get the momentum behind other companies that have good causes – because there are companies that have no causes other than their own pocket.”
Instead of giving up his business endeavors, Michaels utilized the skills he learned in his car shop and made his own graphics out of automotive vinyls.
“We started pushing the vinyl graphics and then started seeing it in mainstream [products],” Michaels said. “I was like, ‘I’m just going to ride my wave and do my thing.’”
In July 2020 Michaels and his family sold their house, and took a gamble that landed them in St. Pete Beach.
“When we got here, we decided we wanted a skate shop on the beach, but aside from having the skate shop on the beach, I wanted a mini ramp inside because that was my thing,” Michaels said.
According to Michaels, Koncrete Party Skateboards provides an outlet for skater kids of all ages.
“On this beach, there’re not a lot of spots for kids, there’re not a lot of spots for youngsters. Even the adult kids only have so much to do. So, it’s nice to be able to give something like that and at the same time it’s very stressful,” Michaels said.
Koncrete Party Skateboards has 2000 sq. ft of skateboarding area, with a mini ramp and a street section complete with a box, a curb and two training ramps.
“I like this place a lot,” said Andre Nieves, a local skater. “It’s the only indoor park on the beach around here, so that’s probably going to make it really popular. But yeah, the area is pretty dope and everything is super cool in here.”
The shop attracts regulars, but, due to the prime beach location, a lot of the customers are tourists, Michaels said. In the past, other shops that have opened at 7470 Gulf Blvd. have not been so lucky, going out of business rather quickly. Michaels hopes his shop breaks the curse of the location.
“It’s a huge roll of the dice and we have no idea where it’s going to go, but all we can do is hope for the best,” Michaels said.
More at koncreteparty.com.