Q: Tell us a little about yourself.
Jeff: I’m a life long Norwich resident with a passion for skateboarding that has encompassed so
many aspects of my life. I started skating when I was just a boy and after 32 years of sidewalk
surfing I still find it a thrill.
Q: How long have you been in business?
Jeff: I have had many jobs within the skateboard industry ranging from Summer camp instructor,
freelance videographer and at one point I had the pleasure of running an indoor skateboard park
franchise. This is what led to my current business of running my small national brand Worship
Skateboards, which started in 2003 and led to my opening the Ideal Skate Shop here in my
hometown of Norwich in 2004.
Q: What inspired you to open a skate shop?
Jeff: Oddly enough, it was never my plan to have a store. I was merely trying to help local kids
get their hands on my American made product and unfortunately there was no outlet in the
immediate area. The inspiration for the board brand however was more of a passion project that
grew out of not liking the trend of other companies writing their name on boards as if it were a
soda can. I just wanted to see the art of skateboard graphics return to being subtle messages and
dramatic art instead of corporate branding. Happily, my brand sells to almost 80 skate shops
around the country. What I love about Worship skateboards is that you can hang these
skateboards on your wall or destroy them having fun as they were intended and its absolutely
beautiful either way. I love seeing people admire the boards in art galleries as well as out in the
Q: What has been your proudest accomplishment?
Jeff: It was again just a happy accident that became another passion project. About 5 years ago
we did a single skateboard lesson for a child on the Autism spectrum. Now years later, we have
partnered a local Non profit and created the Success on Skateboards (SOS) program. Our focus
is offering skate lessons to children on the Spectrum and those with sensory disabilities. Besides
the unbridled joy you see in the children’s faces, we find the added benefits are improved
communication, balance, trust, and independence. The same passion for the program is exuded
by the many volunteers for whom we are eternally grateful.
Q: What do you love most about Norwich?
Jeff: Simply put, Norwich is a blank canvas. For as much as it has a glorious past, it also has a
bright future that we are constantly creating. You may have noticed that the current level of
economic development is overflowing. From civic work projects, to beautification, to multitudes
of small business’ eager to contribute to this Rose city renaissance.
Q: If someone was trying to start up their own business, what advice would you give them?
Jeff: Take the leap. The fear and trepidation that you have is normal and is truly a motivating
factor. If you translate that feeling into excitement rather than anxiety you’ll experience many a
sleepless night grinding out details and looking forward to the ideas coming to fruition. Nothing
happens when you stand still and thus momentum should be your goal.
Q: What are you most looking forward to within the next year?
Jeff: I am looking forward to seeing Norwich grow as a community and also as a destination
location that people want to travel to from abroad. I love the idea that Global City Norwich with
the help of NCDC has been exploring the international traditions and cultures through street
festivals. It’s these type of events that bring thousands of people to the city to celebrate Norwich
Thereby exposing people to all of these fascinating changes that are happening currently. There’s
no better marketing or exposure than a festival or parade putting real feet to pavement and
casting all eyes on our city center.
And as organizations in town are able to put on more events to create more reasons to celebrate
Norwich… we will continue to advance our city and celebrate it’s diversity. WE are Norwich
The Ideal Skate Shop is located at 175 Central Ave, Norwich, CT 06360. 860-334-5277 for info.