STORE: Division East
CITY: Montclair, NJ
OWNED BY: David Dowd
PRICES: $$$ (out of 5)
WHY WE COSIGN: As skateboarding culture melded with pop culture, a funny, but inevitable thing happened: skate shops began to shift their product to reflect the times. No longer did they only peddle grip tape, wheels and axles—they increasingly began to stock all the street wear brands that were derived from the function over fashion style of skateboarders. Soon a lot of skate shops began to look a lot like most cool kid boutiques. Montclair, New Jersey's premier skate shop, Division East found themselves going that direction until owner David Dowd decided take the shop directly back to its roots...
Founded in 2000, Dowd recognized the necessity of a local skateboard shop after years of purchasing his equipment from a bike and roller skating shop. Taking advantage of a hole in the market, Dowd created a store run by skaters, for skaters. The store is completely dedicated to the art of skateboarding with all the best decks, videos, gear and kicks for sale. But more than a shop, Division East has became the local hang out spot for the towns skateboarders. Walk in and you're likely to catch a bunch of dudes kickin' it, watching skate videos. And, yes, they do still sell sick threads, as evidenced by the endless supply of dope t-shirts hanging from their walls and the future collaborations they won't speak on just yet. But at the end of the day, their primary focus is providing a service to the skateboarding community, not the fashion world. Just the way it should be.
Read on for our interview with David Dowd, pics of the store, address/web site and the promo to their new video...
BRANDS CARRIED: Nike, Vans, Cons, adidas, Division East, Ipath, Dekline, Frank 151, Domestics
MOST POPULAR ITEMS:Vans Half Cab, Nike Dunks
Complex: What was the inspiration behind Division East, and how has it influenced the overall look and feel of your store?
David: I grew up skateboarding in Essex County, New Jersey and wished there was a skateboard shop in the area—in those days there wasn't any. I used to get my skateboards at a bike/rollerskate shop in South Orange, NJ. After college I was still skating and my younger brother who also skated had no place to go. So, in the end, that was my inspiration. I wanted it to be a place where skaters could meet up before and after skating, chill out, watch skate videos, and of course, shop.
Complex: What are your retail plans for the future?
David: We are down sizing to get more in tune with the hard core skater since that's how we started. Over the past few years we drifted away from that a bit. We were still a skate shop but we started to focus on being a "streetwear boutique." So now we are going back to what we're all about: selling dope and functional skateboarding equipment and apparel. I would also like to continue to build the Division East brand. We are also very focused on the premiere and release of our third full length skateboard video. Visit the online site for more information regarding that.
Complex: Any anticipated collaborations?
David: You'll see when it comes out. Just wait.
Complex: What are the next trends in men's style?
David: Hopefully function over fashion at least as far as skateboarding fashion goes. I think if it's functional it ends up looking good anyway... you don't need to try that hard.
460 Bloomfield Ave
Montclair, NJ 07042