Small Business

Lifelong skateboarder doubles the inventory at his Kerosene Skate Shop

When Christopher Trenary hopped on his first skateboard at age 11, he was more than ready.

“My mom tells me I asked for one when I was 5 or 6, but they wouldn’t buy me one,” he says.

Undeterred, the young Trenary “pushed a Tonka truck up and down the hallway” in imitation of a skateboard until he got the real thing.

Today, the owner of Kerosene Skate Shop can help anyone realize their dream of riding a thin platform attached to four tiny wheels. And yes, the 33-year-old “absolutely” still enjoys it himself.

Trenary — whose nickname “Canary” rhymes with his last name — got into the skateboard business 14 years ago. For most of that time, he also ran an adjacent used record album shop. He recently sold his 8,000-volume collection to his friends at Spektrum Music in Delano and is now devoting all the shop’s space to skateboards.

“It was time for a change,” he said. “All the guys who opened (Spektrum) at one time worked for me. I wanted it to go to them.”

The move allowed Trenary to double his inventory of skateboards, their components and accessories, related clothing and safety gear. Trenary sells some ready-to-ride skateboards but much of his business involves assembling customized boards consisting of decks — the platform riders stand on — and wheels to clients’ specifications.

Trenary says skateboarding is “bigger than it was when I was a kid. Bigger than it was two years ago. It went through kind of a lull. Now it seems to be picking up again.”

His store carries longboards — skateboards designed for cruising and speed — and their shorter counterparts designed for tricks and ramps.

“When I started, it was all about small boards and small wheels. Now the average size that people skate wheel wise and size has gone up quite a bit.”

A beginner’s board costs about $60 to $115. “If you pick out your own parts, you’re looking at $120 to $200,” he said. “If you picked out the nicest parts, the most you could probably be spending is $250.”

Kerosene carries popular brands such as Deluxe, Santa Cruz and Baker as well as its own signature boards, which are manufactured by a California company and printed with Trenary’s artwork. “Whatever pops in my mind goes on the board,” said Trenary, who has a sideline as a sign painter and muralist. One of the latter is what he describes as “the big black-and-white of Gene Simmons, Frankenstein and Joey Ramone” on the side of the nearby Artist At Large tattoo parlor.

Trenary runs the shop by himself, occasionally with a couple of other skateboarders “who will stick around and help out.”

He sponsors a team of a half-dozen local boarders that includes Landon Barnhart, who Trenary said has won or placed in several major competitions around the country.

He installed a small ramp behind his shop and may offer classes there one day. He’s happy to help parents who, after buying a skateboard for their child, “ask me to go outside and give them some advice.” And if the kids are too young to start, there’s always a Tonka truck.

Kerosene Skate Shop

Address: 115½ Pattie

Phone: 316-303-9068

Owner:Christopher Trenary