Small Business

Lifelong skateboarder doubles the inventory at his Kerosene Skate Shop

Watch a WPD officer nail skateboard tricks at Riverfest

Skateboarders in Wichita get a WPD bicycle officer to do an ollie and a kickflip on a skateboard at the Riverfest.
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Skateboarders in Wichita get a WPD bicycle officer to do an ollie and a kickflip on a skateboard at the Riverfest.

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