Shop Interview: Krudco

Posted June 1, 2004 by éS

Shop name: Krudco.
Name and job title: Aaron Costa, Owner.
Year shop opened: 1994. Ten years, baby.
You're going to be celebrating your 10th anniversary'
Hell yeah, dude, this Summer. Everything happened that year. We opened in July, 1994, then I met you.
It doesn't seem like it's been ten years.
No, it doesn't at all. I guess that's the way it goes in this business, or maybe in all businesses. This is the only business that I know about.
Address: 83 Howell ST, Rochester, NY 14607
Phone: (585) 325-4790.
Shop hours:
Monday - Friday 11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Sunday 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Website: krudco.com

How's the shop doing?
It's been doing all right. This Winter was a rough one. It didn't get above thirty-five degrees for almost the whole month of January.

That keeps the kids indoors.
Oh, yeah. I didn't want to leave my house. I didn't want to do anything. It was like sixteen degrees--negative twenty with wind chill. It was crazy--just raw, nasty and gross. So, we got our butts kicked around, but Spring is here and you can tell instantly. When the weather changes, the business changes. It's never ceased to amaze me in this industry that as soon as the weather breaks, the kids are out and you look at the account and you're like, 'Oh, my God! Cool!'

Typical customer?
The everyday customers we get in here are just skate rats--a lot of city kids that don't have a lot of money, just like your standard young kid who has nothing to do but skateboard. That's pretty much it. Then we get the moms and dads whose sons and daughters are the skate rats. We don't get too many fashion people. They come in for the other shoes that sell out really quick. I won't mention the names here, but you know which ones they are'the ones everybody wants.

Do you have any interesting shoplifting stories?
Yeah, a guy tried to hold me up with a fake gun once. I bagged up his stuff, and I was like, 'Okay, it's this much.' He went into his pants like he had a gun and said, 'No, man. Get down on your knees!' I looked at him and said, 'Dude, you better have a real gun! You better show it to me! I'm going to chase your ass down!' This was a big dude, and I'm not a big dude. He played like he had a gun, and ran out the door.

I yelled, 'Help!' My neighbors came over, watched the shop for me and I ran after the dude. I never got the guy, but I jumped on him. He never knew a little dude could run so fast. I jumped a fence right after him, grabbed him, took the bag away, and he still tried to play like he had a gun, like, 'Yo! I got a gun!' I said, 'You better show it to me!' He ran away, so I grabbed the bag, went back to the store and that was it. That was the last time it ever happened. Fortunately, it hasn't happened again. That was the most exciting shoplifting story.

Do you get any other crazy people coming in off the street?
We're in an area where we get a lot of foot traffic, and a lot of homies and thuggy dudes stop by to check stuff out, thinking, 'Oh, that's a white kid's store! We don't want none of that!' Whatever. We've got some cool stuff, and guys know what's up. I sell to a lot of hip-hop artists. The local hip-hop scene shops here for gear and certain shoes that are really weird and flashy. They come through and buy all different kinds of stuff. But, that's not our main bulk. Some of those cats are scumbags, just like some skaters are.

In fact, this one kid that hangs out here put on a sweatshirt. I don't know how or where he did it, but he did. I found a hanger, and was like, 'Where does this hanger go?' The kid was looking at sweatshirts. I had mentioned it while his buddy was in here, like, 'I think that kid took a sweatshirt. I'm going to go after him and get him! I don't care. I know the kid. I'll grab him and throw him on the ground!' Five minutes later, the buddy had left and the kid came back in and said, 'Oh, yeah, I forgot to pay for this sweatshirt!' I said, 'All right! That's better, man! Don't play games with me like that!'

What is the most annoying thing kids ask?
It's hard, cuz every kid, if you don't sponsor him, you're a dick. I'm sure you've been there already. It's so dumb. They're like, 'Sponsor me! I'm really good. You're a jerk cuz you won't sponsor me!' I've had so many kids that won't shop here anymore because I didn't sponsor them instantly a few years ago. I'm just, 'Dude, whatever!' I washed my hands of it. No biggie.

Name the most popular skate videos currently playing in the shop.
Hot Chocolate, no doubt, hands down. Before that, it was Girl Yeah Right. Before that, it was Flip Sorry. All the new little DVDs that everyone is pumping out have been amazing, like the éS Scandinavian Tour DVD you guys put out, the Popwar one and Clich' Bon Appetit! have all been amazing. They've been selling really good, too, cuz they're inexpensive.

I'd love to see your video.
Oh, yeah. It came out really good. There was some drama going on while making it, but it worked out. Now we have a video guy, Chris Roy, who does all of our filming for us. That's the best thing I've ever done as far as video-making goes. He's the dude. He does all the video, there's no more two filmers, two editors. I tried that to make everyone happy. No, no, no. One guy and that's it. He does it, but I have final say. If you guys come to town and want to check out the local spots and film, I'll send you out with him and he'll take you around. He's got a good head on his shoulders about stuff like that. He's not a kook. We've done it with Zoo York and Toy Machine. Anytime anyone comes to town, it's like, 'Here, talk to Roy.'
Who are your shop team riders?
We have a few different guys right now. There's so many: Justin Barnes, Thom Brodesser, Peter Daily, Sean Flaherty, Dan Hochman, Brian Korenkiewicz, Greg Lang, Dan Ostrander, Jeff Prok, Chris Widener, Steve O'Malley, Mark Nardelli and Ben Rubin--that's pretty much our squad right now. There are a few up-and-comer guys that we've been hooking up, like Adam Ruster, Tommy Shevilone and John Mueller.

Special events (video premieres, signings, demos)?
If the éS team came by, that would be spectacular. We had a three-part contest in April called the Krudco Triple Threat--three parks, three Saturdays. We got distributors to sponsor each one, like DNA, Giant and Deluxe. All of their companies got full booking. We didn't try to bring anyone else in. We wanted to go right to the big companies and just tell the kids, 'Help these companies out, they're backing us.'

Every year, for about five or six years now, we do our Skate for the Homeless in November or April. Skaters bring in canned goods to the local skatepark and get in for a discounted price. We then give the canned goods to the homeless shelters around here. We've been kicking down and helping out the local chapter of Food Not Bombs for the past two years. We also do raffles and all of the prize money goes to the Center for Youth Services, an annual event that happens in November or April--it depends on when we want to do it. Throughout the year, we also do random demos, contests or whatever's coming up. Nothing is set in stone right now, so we'll see. 5boro comes up two or three times a year, so they'll be here this July for a demo, too. Those guys are amazing. That squad is unbelievable.

They seem like it.
They just destroy. They're so good.

Any nearby skateparks?
Yeah, there are two nearby parks that have been helping the Winter go by. One of them is an extreme park. They started a skateboard / rollerblade / bmx / wakeboard / dirtboard / mountainboard shop, so I'm not giving them a mention (laughs). But, there's a park we've been working with called Scuff Skates, which is more of your standard indoor street skating park with good mini-ramps and everything like that. That's where we pretty much hold our demos. The pros don't want to skate the huge, whoop-dee-doo, giant everything rollerblade / bmx parks. They want to ride a skateboard park.

What's the best part of running a skate shop?
Getting to skateboard, kind of, for a living. The perks of getting to talk to and meet cool people, travel whenever possible and help out the kids. Help them do their thing and grow up right, if they don't have a good home. Help out the community. That's pretty much it: 'Give back to the kids, man, I'm doing it for the kids!'

Which éS shoes sell the best in your shop? Why?
The Accel and the EK-01. The new hot one that we blew through last Fall was the green / white / yellow Rodrigo. Every pair sold, none had to go on sale (laughs). I didn't even notice it was gone. I looked up and said, 'Oh, yeah! That's gone? How long has that been gone?' That was the new éS shoe that came up. The EK-01 was always there, and the Accel, which is part of an Accel family now.

Right, with the Accel Plus.
The Accel is by far number one.

Why do you think it sells so well? The price? The style?
First the price, then the style. It's the shoe that everyone wants, the one that everyone copies, and it all stems from the price and style. If a customer can't figure out which shoe they want, I say, 'Okay, check this Accel out.' They're like, 'Okay, it's black, it's suede, it's gum. Yes!' And it's $63.95. That's what we sell them for now. It's an éS shoe, everybody skates in it, and there you go. It's amazing. It skates good, and for a simple shoe, it lasts a really long time.

The EK-01 is all about skatability. It's just amazing. It's one of the only shoes I can wear without hurting the ball of my foot. My foot is jacked right behind my big toe. If I don't put an air insole in most shoes, my feet hurt. But I don't have to put anything in the EK-01.

It's the System G2'
Yeah, that stuff is amazing. That made the EK-01 better. People were scared when you first put System G2' in it, but when they got it, they were like, 'Oh, wait. It's lighter, there's more board feel, and my feet don't hurt.' So, it's the Accel and the EK-01, hands down. I hope they never leave the éS line. I don't see why they ever would (laughs). They've been in there forever. The longest-running shoe that I've been selling is the Accel. There's no shoe I've ever carried more than that one. I've had more customers who have ridden the Accel than any other shoe. Almost everyone has had Accels. Almost every skateboarder out there has been like, 'Yeah, I've had those.' It's crazy.

What's the best part about éS?
For me personally, on a shop level, it's the éS team and the Accel--the combination of them working together. Since the team riders have worn that shoe and pushed it, whether they have a pro model or not, they've put it on the map and it sells good. So, thank you. I don't really know how you can say that's the best part, but that's the best part.

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