A big wheel at 13
It's not every day that a seventh grader writes up an 18-page business plan, remodels an entire storefront, orders truckloads of merchandise, and opens his own shop. But then, most junior high schoolers aren't as enterprising as Brad Selover, founder and proprietor of SK8TRS-R-US is, a skateboard shop in Colusa, CA, about 70 miles north of Sacramento.
"I just love skateboarding," says Brad, who's been doing it since he was 11. In fact, it's this very passion that inspired him to set up shop for himself. "The closest skate store is thirty miles away, and in the winter, the roads flood, making it impossible to get there. So I decided to open one closer to my home," he explains. He discussed the idea with his mom, Lisa, and dad, Richard--who, though skeptical, bought him several business management books. They didn't expect their son to actually read them, but Brad did more than that: Two weeks later, he handed his dad a detailed business prospectus, proving that he did, indeed, mean business. With both parents' blessing, Brad tapped into his college fund, borrowing $1,200 to set up his own shop.
The next step was finding the ideal spot. With typical resolve, Brad cruised around town on his trusty skateboard, scouting locations, and finally found a store for rent not far from his dad's auto-body shop in downtown Colusa. The enlisted the help of some school pals, and soon the boys were putting tip plasterboard, installing carpet, building shelves, and acquiring inventory. (Brad flipped through skating magazines and surfed the Net to find wholesalers.) Three months later, in May 1997, the doors of SK8TRS-R-US opened, offering skateboards, clothIng, equipment, and snacks.
Working at the store is fun, says Brad, "but the bookkeeping is hard--my mother and grandmother help with that. And filing my taxes was really hard. So many forms to fill out! My dad's secretary gave me a hand."
SK8TRS-R-US is open for one hour after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Brad's considering longer hours this summer, but "I have to have a life too," he says. "I need time toskateboard and to collect baseball cards."
Business, says Brad, has been "really good," and he expect's to turn a profit by mid-1999. So, does he see this as the start of something bigger, the beginning of dozens of SK8TRS-R-US across the country? He shrugs, and for a split second, sounds like the seventh grader he is: "I don't know how long I want to run the store or what I want to do when I get older," he says. "I'm thinking about becoming either a Navy Seal or a biologist I want to study reptiles."