Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Skateboard shop is safe haven

Lindsey Treffry | The Communicator  

Paradigm can be defined as an archetype; a philosophical framework; a Spokane skate shop.  

Owner of Paradigm Skate Shop, Todd Bearden, has been skateboarding since 1989. Bearden originally got his bachelor's degree in Marketing and Human Resources from EWU. He managed Spirit Skate Shop, where Paradigm is now located, and assured the landlord would sign over the lease after Spirit's owner closed the shop. 

Paradigm is located on Washington, blocks away from the concrete, Under The Freeway skateboard park.

Bearden chose to name the shop Paradigm, because he didn't want the generic "Joe's Skate Shop," and wanted his apparel to transcend other brands.  

"Paradigm can mean shift, or it can be something philosophical," Bearden said. "It is phonetically correct, and intriguing. "(The word paradigm) makes people ask 'What is it?'"  

Different from corporate shops that have "belly button rings, hoola hoops, and kayaks," Paradigm only carries skateboard equipment. They also design their own brand of clothing, which is their most popular item, and changes seasonally.  

Not only a store, Paradigm hosts events and sponsors local skateboarders. Their sponsored skaters receive discounts and free equipment, in exchange for giving Paradigm "a face." They make sure their skaters are presentable, can attend contests and demos, and do not include themselves in drug-related activities.  

Paradigm often hosts "under-ground" events, like skate jams and barbecues, but most often attend skate park openings. Samuel Imus, an employee at Paradigm, has known Bearden since middle school. 

"Skateboarding made us friends," he said. "Owning a shop made us brothers."  

According to Imus, Bearden provides equipment and boards for kids who shop at Paradigm, but don't have the extra money. Bearden said he is like a "big brother" to a majority of the kids who shop at Paradigm.  

"We cater to loitering," he said. "We have a PS3 and a big screen to let kids hang out.
"It's a safe place, and their mothers knows where they are."  

As seen in Issue 41.9 of The Communicator

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