130. Caravan Board Shop

May 10, 2024
May 10, 2024 Will Mackie

We are Back! For another round of Comacan Questions with another wonderful guest. This time a newer shop on the scene, one we had the chance to personally meet just a few weeks prior to this interview. A smaller shop with a large heart focused on some of the best parts of the skateboarding community and a local shop at that! We’re proud to share this week’s interview with Caravan Board Shop.

What is Caravan Board Shop?
A 50sqft dream come true, really. I started reaching out to skate distributors last year—not really having much hope without any real connections in the industry—in order to achieve my goal of turning our hand-built Irish caravan into a skate shop. I started with Landyachtz because, apart from being a long-time fan, I had the good fortune of catching our regional sales rep when I reached out about a personal order a few months prior. After that, I reached out to some smaller brands and distributors before reaching out to the bigger ones.

Caravan’s been open for just under two months now—we opened St.Patty’s Day—and people really seem to dig the shop and what we’re about. My hope is that we’ll be able to grow and build the sport in this region for a long time to come, while remaining the same quirky little Caravan that just wants to put a board under your feet and a smile on your face. Well, at the very least a board under your feet; sometimes we skate because there’s fuck all to smile about, and that’s just fine.

Why did you choose the name Caravan Board Shop?
That’s easy, the shop itself is modelled after a traditional Irish caravan!

The long story is: After gifting our rad 1973 Ford Supervan to Logan [Staats], my wife and I were playing around with what we wanted to replace it with as our new summer camper. I have a fair few Irish ancestors, we spent our honeymoon in Ireland, and our second daughter has an Irish name, so I suggested an Irish caravan! I was somewhat kidding about it if I’m honest, but once we started looking into it, we realized it was totally doable. After the caravan build was finished, we also decided it was time to upgrade to a vehicle better suited to towing it than our little Hyundai Tucson; that vehicle ended up being another van, so—longer-story-short—that became our new camper and the caravan became a skateboard shop.

What was the inspiration behind starting the shop?
Apart from having my feet on a board being one of the few consistently positive things in my life for a long time, my wife almost died twice in the span of less than three years. Those two near-death events weren’t related, but both happened suddenly and nearly left me without the partner I thought I’d be spending (ideally) many more decades with; both also resulted in very lengthy and difficult ICU stays for her. After the second time it became clearer than ever to both of us that you really do need to live now if you’re going to live at all. At that point we both asked ourselves what we really wanted to be doing with our time, and the shop was my answer!

Do you have a team?
A team making this all happen? Kind of. I handle everything to do with running the shop, but my wife is often the one responsible for dropping packages at the post, and none of this would be possible without her support. Our 13-year-old also plans to help out later this summer. The toddlers either think they’re helping or are simply not in any way intending to, but you might see one or both if you drop by the shop during nice weather.

We also have a skate team we’re currently recruiting for! Submissions for Georgian Triangle residents are open until May 31st [2024]. Out-of-region submissions open June 1st. All details can be found on our Instagram [@caravanboardshop] posts and on our website.

What about Go Skate(boarding) Day, anything planned for your first as a shop?
Absolutely! Caravan will be hosting an event at the Collingwood Skatepark from 10am-2pm on Friday, June 21st. We’ll have contests, giveaways, free food, and a food drive going on. There’ll be more details on Caravan’s Go Skate Day instagram post.

What makes Caravan different?
Definitely the shop itself. On top of its uniqueness in format, it also has lower overhead than many other shops, which in turn allows us to do a little more in the way of giving back to the community through shop-run events, giveaways/contests, and mutual aid.

Anyone you’d like to thank?
My wife—for the support, but also just for being here.

And thanks to Dan Bokma, too! A lot of folks reading this will probably know (of) him, but for those that don’t, he’s the man behind Souldiers Barrie and Skatehouse Distribution. He was my first contact from a smaller distro, the first person I could talk to about running a shop, and he’s never been anything but supportive. Buy his Souldiers “Hiatus” DVD! It’s $14.99 on his site or mine, free with orders over $100 [use code ‘HIATUS’ at checkout on www.CaravanBoardShop.ca].

Where are you located?
At 23 Ferguson Road, in Collingwood, Ontario. We’re in a residential area a few blocks West of Hurontario St, via Campbell St.

Where can people view your products?
Our entire stock can be found at www.CaravanBoardShop.ca. And with our online stock right next door, all of that is available for pickup/purchase while visiting the shop.