Shop Interview: Coliseum

Posted April 9, 2004 by éS

Shop name: Coliseum.
Owner name: Matthew "Matt" Roman.
Employees:
Arty "Art" Pop Tart, Manager.
Don the Sign Guy, Temp.
Location: 454 Franklin ST, Melrose, MA 02176.
Year shop opened: 1976.
Shop hours:
As open as they wanna be...
Monday thru Friday 1:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Website: coliseumskate.com

How's the shop doing?
Arty: Just like the Pet Shop Boys, we're absolutely fabulous.

Typical Coliseum customer?
Arty
: Devious, corrupted and unreliable--with sticky fingers.

Most annoying question kids ask the shop?
Matt
: "Are you going to dig a tunnel from Coliseum to Candy Castle?"

Do you get any crazy people coming in off the street?
Arty
: These two black dudes came into our Boston store looking quite unlike most skaters that usually come in. They were dancing around and started chasing each other clockwise around the T-shirt display. They started circling faster and faster, and we eventually realized they weren't friends. They weren't talking to anybody else--they were just staring at each other. Then the walking turned into running. Finally, one of them yelled, "Crips!", kicked the éS mirror in, grabbed a shard of glass, and started chasing the other counter-clockwise around the store. Dave Armsden asked them to leave and called the police. Then they politely proceeded to fight each other on the street right outside the store. Nobody says no to Armsden.

There are a lot of halfway houses around here, and the people from them often come into Coliseum on field trips to see P.J. Ladd. P.J. has a secret sponsor right down the street called Mother's Pizza. He also used to ride for Candy Castle, but they dropped him. They still come around a lot looking for him, demanding one of his Flip packages.
Dave Vey: Also, a lot of love letters are dropped off for Alexis Sablone.

(Laughs) P.J. mentioned that he's trying to avoid that area right now, because Candy Castle is after him for stealing candy.
Matt
: Where in the world is P.J.?

Oh, man, He's back and forth between San Diego and Boston. I think he's there in Boston right now. His whereabouts are usually mysterious, which is going to be the subject of another éS website contest. Name the most popular skate videos currently playing in the shop.
Arty
: The Germ Get Dirty video, XYZ Meet Your Maker, Sick Boys (just Mickey Reyes' part), World Industries Tim & Henry's, Queen Live at Wembley, Dead Alive.

Special events (video premieres, signings, demos)?
Matt
: We currently have this guy here, Don, who's trying to sell us one of those signs that just flashes messages. Right now it says, "Happy birthday, GSD." We also did a great fundraiser for the Melrose Victorian Faire featuring a pyrotechnics display with an expert flame-thrower in a fire-retardant suit. All we brought was a flat rail, and he just lit that and everything else within reach on fire with nail polish remover. One kid was completely engulfed in flames up to his neck. His hair was fine, but the rest of his body pretty much peaced out. Then the fire department showed-up. It's strange, they haven't asked us back to the Melrose Victorian Faire ever since.

Future events (demos, signings, video premieres)?
Matt
: Maybe a Baker demo.

Nearby skateparks?
Arty
: Superior (a stone skatepark)--endless fun.

Coliseum shop team riders:
Baby Schizo, Dave Armsden, Colin Fiske, Ryan Gallant, P.J. Ladd, Dr. Laura, Jereme Rogers, Alexis Sablone, Southie and Dave Vey.

Upcoming kids in your area?
Arty
: Fig, Hector, Matt Roman, Ray Charles, Bono, Peter Wolf, Vincent Price (former leading man of macabre theater) and Leslie Nielsen. P.J. Ladd, he's good.

He's all right. He's good. I've seen some footage.
Arty
: We applaud his part for the Coliseum video on our new website. He does good demos. A lot of kids put down hard-earned cash on him every day here at the Coliseum.

What's the best part of running a skate shop?
Arty
: I love being a weather vane for the skate community. That's why our opinion is so much more important than anyone else in the world. Everybody tells us everything--there's a confessional in this store. We're also building one on our new website, where anybody can tell us anything and it'll stay top secret. We haven't turned in skate tabs on anyone yet.

Which éS shoes sell the best at Coliseum?
Arty
: The kids really love the Accel. It's heavenly, really.

Why do kids there buy it?
Arty
: I think it's because of Alexis and P.J. Kids buy the Accel from us because we put a two-dollar Candy Castle gift certificate inside each box. It's something Matt and I do, and neither one of us really know we're doing it. We just throw them in the shoeboxes, people see them and buy them like crazy.

We've got to start doing that here at éS--throwing coupons in our shoeboxes. What's the best part about éS?
Arty
: It's a real skate company run by skaters, like Don Brown. When you walk around éS, you get the feeling people care about skating. I mean, Tony Evjenth ollied the Hollywood twelve. He's a Czechoslavkian man and he's not afraid to show it. He's a man, and he's doing am tricks. I love it. He's a man am. But, at the same time, he's kind of pro by virtue of the company he keeps. Actually, Tony Evjenth is much like a God.

The best thing about éS is that they look out for skateboarding. éS is not sold down at the mall. Their shoes don't pinch your toes. A lot of people just can't describe what éS really means to them. They can't fully articulate the emotional response they gain from éS every day.

It's tough.
Arty
: It's spiritual, is what it is, my friend. Like when you start a new chapter in your life. I heard éS was going to make a shoe for the Dalai Lama called the Cat.

Yeah, a lot of people try to copy our stuff, but they just can't do it.--Tony Evjenth

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