For years, “extreme sports” such as skateboarding and BMX biking have been popular with the youth of America. Yet, its presence on Long Island has been somewhat limited by the lack of legitimate venues that cater to its target audience.
Oil City Skate Park of Oceanside is currently the only indoor skate park on Long Island, and it’s ongoing success has prompted owner Rich Branciforte to capitalize on it’s good name and parlay that name into skate shops. Oil City Skate and Scoot, the first of a planned franchise, opened up in Bellmore at 102B Bedford Ave. a mere two months ago.
Branciforte spoke to Patch about hitting the ground running in Bellmore with Oil City Skate and Scoot, and his plans for what’s yet to come.
Tell us about what Oil City Skate and Scoot is all about.
It’s a retail store that caters to skateboarders, bikers, and particularly scooters. Scootering has become very, very large...it’s kind of taken over from skateboarding for younger kids, though even people in their 20s have been doing it.
Why the idea to expand your business from the skate park in Oceanside?
At Oil City, a lot of parents were coming in from all over Long Island just to go to our shop that was inside the skate park. But the distance was so far, so we came up with the idea of opening up small retail stores throughout Long Island. Bellmore was our first, and we’re opening our second in Riverhead in a few weeks.
What kind of items do you carry at Skate and Scoot?
In addition to the top brands of skateboards and longboards, we carry the accessories as well. We also carry a lot of pro-model scooters and parts...right now, we’re the only shop on Long Island that carries scooters. We also carry BMX bikes, t-shirts, hats, shoes...really, anything that’s related to those sports. We get a lot of people in here who know about our skate park and came all the way here to check it out.
How did you get into this business? Were you a skater yourself?
No, I’m a little too old for that...I own Good Times magazine, the music newspaper that’s been around for 43 years. The person who owned Oil City was a customer of mine, and he was talking about getting out of the business for a while, and I knew it was an interesting business to get into, so when it became available five years ago I bought it.
What do you like about owning and operating a business in Bellmore?
I picked Bellmore as my first location because Bedford Avenue has such a unusual assortment of youth-oriented businesses. You have The Rock Underground, you have Across The Universe, a lot of restaurants...a lot of stores that cater to kids. So it looked like it was a great place to put a business, and it’s been very busy since the first day we opened. We obviously picked a good location, but we also picked a good town.