For Gavin Barret and Joel Baker, the daily grind is something they actually enjoy. Not because their jobs as owners of local skateboarding company Scam Skate are difficult or tedious. Rather, it’s because they can literally do a grind, or a flip, on their skateboards on the mini pipe and rail they have set up in the back of their shop on Graham Ave.
Having grown out of their previous location in a garage they were renting, they’ve been able to move into their new location where they continue to make boards of different shapes and sizes. They have also continued their first business that they began as teenagers in Portage la Prairie.
“In high school we were printing shirts as a hobby. We started selling them to our friends and people were really buying them,” said Gavin. After both Gavin and Joel gave post secondary education a try, they decided to renew their efforts and start making skateboards as well. “We decided to dive in and see if we could make it work, we began making boards out of the garage and people started buying them.”
There has been a lot of learning and evolution since they got into making the boards, as at first they were cutting using a jigsaw and using spray paint to put the designs on. Since those early days, they have switched to cutting with lasers and pre-programmed routers.
“That’s the industry standard and it’s the most accurate way to cut board,” said Joel. “When we were working out of the garage we were cutting all of the boards by hand with a jig saw and spray painting graphics. In order to step it up to a serious production, we had to be able to make more boards faster. Instead of taking several hours to do one board, we realized the CNC would be able to do it in a few minutes and graphic applications with the laser are far less tedious than spray-painting it by hand, so you can kind of hit print and walk away and work on other things.”
The Scam Skate guys have a membership and use the makerspace AssentWorks in the Exchange District to create their boards. AssentWorks is part of what is known as ‘Innovation Alley’, which Prince Charles visited last year.