In a perfect world, the April 1 opening of the Black Diamond skate shop on Main Street would be a precursor to the reopening of the at the Moorestown Mall.
But since it’s not a perfect world, the skate shop will have to do for now.
Black Diamond owner Dan McCollister said attempts to find a new location in South Jersey for the skatepark have not panned out—.
“What we’re left with is a long-term plan to open the skatepark in South Jersey,” he said, mentioning a possible site on Route 130 in Burlington Township. “We have a three- to five-year plan, versus a three- to six-month plan.”
On the bright side, McCollister is just two weeks away from opening the skate shop, which will be a carbon copy of the retail side of the Moorestown Mall location, offering skateboards, snowboards, ski and snowboard rentals, skateboard and snowboard tuning (waxing, sharpening), as well as plenty of apparel.
The shop is right next door to , just down from and .
McCollister said when he found out he’d have to close the mall location—so mall owner PREIT can make room for its —he knew right away where he wanted to relocate.
“The first option, by far, was to move up to Main Street … I really liked the Moorestown area,” he said.
He expects to keep most of his clientele, so don’t be surprised if you see a lot of young people coming and going, which might raise some eyebrows in a downtown that doesn’t offer a lot of youth-oriented retail.
But McCollister said anyone worried about roving gangs of skateboarders causing trouble on Main Street need not fear.
“What we are going to do is hopefully provide some structure,” he said. “Instead of hanging out on the street corner, possibly causing trouble, they can come to the Diamond.”
Besides just giving kids a place to hang out, McCollister said the shop will have a small art gallery, featuring photographs and drawings/paintings of action sports, as well as a back dock they can chill out on.
“We’re very youth-friendly,” he said, describing the staff at the shop as kind of like cool chaperones.
“You tell a kid, ‘Don’t do that,’ they’re going to laugh at you,” he said. “Whereas, when we tell a kid, ‘Don’t go skate in the street,’ it has more warrant. We’re one of them, so to speak.”
For obvious reasons (no skatepark on site), Black Diamond won’t be able to continue offering skating lessons. However, McCollister said his instructors have offered to teach at the David Gentile outdoor skatepark at , so he’s looking into that. And he also mentioned a cross-promotional deal is in the works to offer lessons at Black Diamond’s skatepark at Franklin Mills Mall.
McCollister hasn’t quite figured out exactly what hours the skate shop will keep, but said 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday sounded about right.
The skatepark at the mall will close March 31. Leading up to the closing, McCollister said they’re hosting several competitions. Call 856-235-5800 or visit their website for more information.
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