Sweden’s skate scene is booming, and Stockholm-based Coyote Grind Lounge proved that by finishing 2nd at the Vans Shop Riot 2015. Having been open over a decade now, owner Hans ‘Corky’ Koraeus talks us through the highs and lows the shop has experienced and tells us how he’s making a core shop work in Sweden.
Please give us an overview of your store.
The skate shop Coyote Grind Lounge was started in 2005 by three older skaters seeking the skateboard shop vibe from the time when they were young skaters themselves. We couldn’t relate to the existing skate shops at the time. The Coyote Grind Lounge skate shop was a very obscure old-school shop in the beginning that wanted to go back to the roots of skateboarding. Over the years it has become more like a normal skateboard shop. But we have always aimed for a core skate shop feel. It’s very difficult to keep a skate shop in the core segment because economic forces are constantly dragging you into clothes, shoes and in a worst case scenario; into a mix with other action sports.
In 2010 during the start of the economic difficulties in Europe, many skate shops had to close down- two of the owners of our skate shop were forced to give up due to the economic strain. From that time on I was alone, trying to keep the ship afloat, in hope of riding through the storm and coming out alive on the other side. It came to be a much longer storm than expected but we finally see some light in the tunnel again.
How is the skate scene in Sweden?
The skate scene in Stockholm is great. When we started in 2005 we opened the shop just next to a concrete skate bowl park in the middle of Stockholm city. It was the first one built and now 11 years later there are over 20 concrete skate parks in Stockholm so things have exploded, and not just in Stockholm, but all over the country!
What have been the biggest changes to your store over the last year? Please talk to us about the tattoo store…
Last year we had our 10-year anniversary and we fancied something new with the store. There were many ideas flying around but finally we ended up with the concept of a tattoo shop and skate shop working together.
Out of all of the brands you sell, where does your most dedicated brand loyalty lie?
When it comes to skateboards we don’t see that much brand loyalty among skaters in general. Skaters are quite open to testing new brands. If I had to pick one brand it would be Bones Wheels where brand loyalty is still high.
You placed well at Vans Shop Riot in 2015 – how’s the team shaping up for 2016?
Yes, it was a great 2015 with our team taking 2nd place in the Vans Shop Riot finals in Madrid – it was a boost for the whole shop. So for the 2016 season we thought we had the team all figured out, but one of our key skaters has gone to work for the Vans store in Stockholm. So that was a real bummer and now we are trying to find a new key skater for our team.
What are the five products you couldn’t live without right now?
Bones wheels, Bones bushings, Bones bearings, Spitfire Formula 4, Indy trucks.
How do you support your local skate scene?
We have always had a strong focus on having a skate team and motivating them to travel and go to all the competitions around Sweden. Also by having skaters working in the shop we try to give them an opportunity to make some money working within the skateboard business as well.
How are you working with brands to give your customers something they can’t get online?
The business is for sure a lot harder now than when we started in 2005. Now anyone can start a brand and print their own clothes and skateboard decks. Opening a web shop is easier than ever before and so local skate shops have to compete with web shops around the world. And there are even people selling stuff in the skateparks without investing in a skate shop.
Luckily there are still people that do like and support the local skate shops and like the social interaction you can get from a real skate shop.