Hardware City Objective
The skateboarding culture is literally the only culture we know and love and we never really wanted to start a "company" to begin with. We just wanted to skate all the time and keep each other pushing as much as we could. Everything began by us basically skating everyday and constantly snapping boards left and right. The ability to continually buy boards from a shop was hard especially with the price tag and sometimes a board not lasting more then a week was a problem. Supporting your local skate shop is always top priority, but us broke skaters couldn't keep up with what it was costing us at the time. We decided to take matters into our own hands and get a bunch of blank boards for our own supply. Surrounded by talent, hunger and collaboration, it gave us an opportunity to start something of our own for the community.
Early 2012 we decided to create a logo and name our group Hardware City Skateboarding, the emphasis was always on "skateboarding" because we wanted to bring more to the table then just some new brand. We began by distributing free skate hardware in bags with our logo stickers in our community and simply encouraging people just to skate with us. The goal was always just to keep skating and influence others to do as well , we are a welcoming crew and we embrace anyone and everyone.
The name was influenced after the only indoor skatepark we had in our city to this day which was Hardware City Skatepark that we skated between 99-2001. New Britain, CT is known as Hardware City because of its manufacturing history, it was only right to keep the legacy going for our community. This was the place to go to and its how we all started our skateboarding journeys and once the park closed it was a real dagger. We wanted to always keep skateboarding going in our city and with limited spots we began to hit the streets and any other places we could such as parking garages or our local band shell.
We had/have very limited amount of spots to skate and after the shut down of the indoor park, the town built a shitty outdoor park Stanley Quarter Parl. The park was designed and executed by an architect and not a knowledgable skatepark builder. We skated it since it was built around the year 2002 and it never had received the respect or care that it deserved. The asphalt began to crack, the pre fab ramps that were there for a little while got thrown into the bowl , a bowl which was shaped like a dish and the drainage was so poorly built it would actually fill up like a real pool!
We knew we had to build up a community of skateboarders and gain the respect of our city to bring skateboarding back and show how much it meant to us. We started spray painting decks in a garage at the time and we were strictly doing it for ourselves. A house fan hooked up on a ceiling, some spray cans and one of the homies artistic skills is all we needed to get going. The operation was like a small factory in that garage and long day sessions turned into skating and working on the boards all day just to have them ready to skate. We were doing this for ourselves but after putting up a few posts with no intention on selling people began to take interest in supporting and wanting to get on board with what we were doing. The hype got real and we decided to start making more and more decks and selling them for a few dollars more then we were getting them for just in order to keep it going. Things were going in the right direction and skateboarders were coming out of the shadows and wanted not only to buy a board but to hang out, skate, film and come visit other skateparks with us. The goal was beginning to take shape , we started to build a strong enough support around our community and we were determined to encourage the city to upgrade the only skatepark we had and have. We kept spraying boards but we soon realized that the Alibaba blank decks were cheap in quality and with more and more people wanting to support we decided to upgrade on the production. We felt the responsibility that if were going to do this for real we need to have good wood for people to ride but still give them the ability to afford a deck.
So we searched online for a manufacturing company that produced decks and we we were ready for our first real shipment of non spray painted decks . We started with 15-20 decks at first and we were selling them at 30$ a piece to those who were willing to support. No sale ever went unnoticed and we kept records of peoples names who supported us because those same people were the building blocks for the future and common goal in getting the park rebuilt. We continued to get boards produced from various manufacturing companies in the states and even in Canada at one point. The support was growing and shipments were turning from 15 to 25 and eventually to 50 boards per order. We were never big time and we still aren't but it was enough to keep us going and everyone around us pushing. All profits went back into the pot for more boards and the mission to rebuild the park continued.
Along the way as we kept things going forward since 2012 and we threw together yearly events for the community at the local band shell. Once a year in the summer we would organize an event that would attract people from all across the state. Battle At the Shell was born at the local band shell because at that time the park was still in awful shape to do any sort of skate jam. In 2012 we did do one event at the local skatepark in which we brought our own home built boxes, kickers and manny pads because the stuff at the park wasn't even fun to skate anymore. Games of skate , free food , music is all we needed to get everyone together for one sick day. We continued to do as much as we could to keep the skateboarding live in our community and we supported everyone just as much as they supported us. We just wanted to have fun and do something fun for everyone that wanted just to skate and we were accomplishing our goal by just spreading the love of skateboarding. Teens, kids and adults would turn up to watch these go down and we were definitely getting the city's attention that we need a new park, Bad! . Our mission was getting enough attention in our city that we needed in order to take the next step forward. Check out an event video here ---> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1nA-HhmnUM
With a strong backing from the skateboarding community we finally had enough support to go and talk to the city at a common council meeting. We expressed our concerns that not only the park was dangerous to skate but we now have built a skateboarding community that simply had no place to call home. Skating in the streets is where we all thrive of course but with limited spots we needed a new and improved park not just for us but for the future generations of skateboarders to come. We guaranteed that if the park was to be rebuilt by real skatepark builders, it would open up doors to a community of skateboarders that needed a place to continue their growth. It was essential that this gets done properly and lasts longer then the previous botched version which had a lifespan of about 18 years. The ball got rolling and the city decided to accumulate funds in order to begin the process of rebuilding the park in two phases and finally in 2017 the construction was scheduled to begin. We were beyond stoked on everything happening and thankful for all the support we received in order to get this project going.
Stanley Quarter Park Skatepark with a team of New Britain Parks and Recreation staff, skatepark designer Jeff Paprocki, contractor Rampage Inc and To Design, a full service landscape architecture company, the restructure efforts began. To Design along with Jeff Paprocki produced the site plan for the two-phase renovation of the existing skate park. In phase one of the rebuilt the renovations included an expansion of the upper footprint of the park, removal and replacement of cracked asphalt with concrete and various new features such as new ledges, a re designed pyramid and all new quarter pipes. Some quarters were finished with angle iron coping and some with regular and the park received a blend from beginner to more challenging features. As the top of the park and phase one was complete the bottom and phase two of the rebuild were still up in the air. With an additional visit to the city, hundreds of emails from local skateboards and city representatives we were able to allocate additional funds in order to complete the park. In phase two which came about a year after, the bottom portion of the park layout was addressed. The biggest project was ultimately going to be the bowl, because of its dish like shape and awful drainage system the newly designed and retrofitted bowl was finally skate-able and drainable. The newly redesigned park finally gave us smooth ground and flow from top to bottom which was impossible before. The park was challenging to skate before construction because of its damage but now the challenge has been shifted in a good direction.
The park was finally completed and opened in 2018 and our long life dream has become a reality. Everyone who was involved was rewarded with a place that we can call our own and begun to rebuild the identity and the skateboard community that was kept under a rock for over a decade. Our Mayor Erin Stewart, The New Britain Parks and Recreation , Jeff Paprocki, Rampage Inc , To Design, all of the skateboarders, bmx-ers , rollerbladers, and all the town people made this possible and we thank them all. The mission was deemed successful and we accomplished something that seemed impossible at one point. Finally we had a skatepark and now we felt responsible in maintaining it and making sure that it stays in best possible shape. Rampage Inc still comes around to this day and fixes up cracks and does any other minor repairs. We have some artists come and paint some of the sections of the park because we allow those local talents to come and have a piece of their work displayed at the park . Although some people prefer a bare concrete park, the art seems as an inevitable mixture of the skateboarding culture. We have been throwing some events with the city's involvement since it opened up and it has been a life changing experience for all of us. The rebuilt has brought new energy for us, new influence and new ideas but also it has brought children , families and the entire community to try something new and different.
As of today we are still producing boards and our prices haven't changed much either. We maintain the same identity and motto in order to KEEP PEOPLE PUSHING. Thats all we ever want, is to continue to spread the love of skateboarding and encourage others to do the same. We recently had four new graphic drop and of a 100 boards we sold more then 80 in less then 2 weeks time. Continually we film, collaborate with local artists ,drop boards a few times a year and set up local events with other crews and the city. This all starts and ends with skateboarding, that is the building foundation of our culture and we stand by supporting everyone who chooses to embrace it. Keeping things the same way for years has given us the support to continue doing what we do and without all that backing we would never be where we are today. Love to all that were and are involved, and most of all love to skateboarding, Forever.