Great Skates And Derby Gear
Please introduce us to your business.
Roller-skating is groovy again and it’s not just for derby girls. Kaua’i Skate is a roller skate/roller derby shop owned and operated by me, Kapa’a resident Sarah Erlanger. I am dedicated to supplying skaters with exceptional gear and the highest level of knowledge regarding roller-skating equipment. Kaua’i Skate has equipment suitable for all levels of roller-skating, whether you’re hoping to become a roller girl or just looking for a fun way to get outside and exercise.
What was the inspiration to start this business on Kaua’i?
Originally, the shop was just something I would dream about after derby practice. I would sit at my computer for hours and hours, researching all the different kinds of wheels, boots, plates, bearings, protective gear, etc. I wanted to learn everything there was to know about roller derby and the gear used to play the game. I took a trip to the mecca of roller derby, otherwise known as Seattle, and of course I wasn’t leaving the city before I stopped at the local roller derby shop. I quickly became friends with one of the owners, “Wile E Peyote” (derby ladies assume nom de skates). She saw that I was consumed by roller derby and inspired me to open my own roller skate/roller derby shop, and the rest is history. Now, Kaua’i Skate is growing every day and has been featured in roller derby magazines and on websites, such as Blood and Thunder Magazine and derbyowned.com.
What’s the story behind the new “roller-derby” craze?
Roller derby has come a long way since the theatrical exhibition-style of playing during the 1960s and early ’70s by teams such as the Bay City Bombers and the Los Angeles Thunderbirds. With some small exceptions, the sport ceased to exist during the 1980s and ’90s until the rebirth of the game in 2001 by a group of women in Austin, Texas. These pioneers set the stage for what is now becoming the fastest growing sport in America. Unlike the former version of roller derby, there are now real rules that are developed by the WFTDA (Women’s Flat Track Derby Association). Modern roller derby is a legitimate, competitive, contact sport that requires dedication, passion and athleticism. With more than 400 leagues worldwide, the future of roller derby is literally unlimited!
Where are you from and why did you move here?
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, but I have bounced around quite a bit. I was living in Oregon when I heard about a pharmacist position opening at Wilcox Hospital, and I immediately jumped at the opportunity to move to Kaua’i. I had visited the island several times before moving here and fell in love with the beauty, people and culture that makes Kaua’i such an extraordinary place to live.
Who are your clients?
Kaua’i Skate supports skaters all over the state of Hawaii, as well as skaters on the Mainland. Recently we have been gaining a lot of international attention as well, which is absolutely surreal. I sponsor Pacific Roller Derby and the Paradise Roller Girls, the leagues on Oahu and the Big Island, respectively. The majority of people buying skates play roller derby, but roller-skating is something everyone can enjoy.
When I tell people about the shop, usually their first response is something similar to “I haven’t roller-skated in years,” to which I reply, “It’s just like riding a bike, only way cooler!” It’s such a great way to exercise and it’s something the entire family can do together.
What has been the greatest challenge in starting and managing your business?
The most demanding task for me right now is planning Leid on the Track, a roller derby training camp that Kaua’i Skate is hosting in January on Kaua’i. Some of the best coaches and skaters from the West Coast are coming to Kaua’i so the local leagues can improve their skills on the track. It’s a gigantic project, but it’s going to be a lot of fun.
What would you be doing if not this?
Skating a lot more! It’s been a struggle to manage the shop and still fit practice time into my schedule. I am also a pharmacist, so time management is something I am continuously learning.
Where do you source your inventory?
The majority of my inventory comes from the skate company Riedell. It has been producing roller skates for more than 60 years. It’s important to support derby-owned businesses, to empower the players behind them. That’s why I carry clothing made by derby-owned companies, Flat Track Revolution and Pivotstar.
What is your business motto?