Selling a lifestyle at Harmony Skateshop
McHENRY – Harmony Skateshop on McHenry's Green Street isn't just selling clothing, accessories, footwear, and skateboards. It's selling a lifestyle.
Any skateboarder can tell you that skating is not just about a wooden board with four wheels. It's an entire industry with its own music, art, photography and fashion. And Harmony's owners have a finger on the pulse of what's hot.
It's not uncommon to see teenagers hanging out in the store watching one of the many skate videos that play behind the counter.
The store's co-owners, 25-year-old Ashley Jakiela, and boyfriend Halley Nye, don't seem to mind the younger clientele, either. Nye grew up skateboarding, and came often to the store at 1259 N. Green St., when it was the Trend Cellar.
It's where he met friends. It's where he formed a relationship with Jakiela, who worked part time for eight years when the store was owned by McHenry resident Carol Chrisman.
"I was here every day from 15 on," 27-year-old Nye said.
Chrisman opened the Trend Cellar in the late '90s and went through a series of locations before landing on Green Street. She opened the store for her sons, all skateboarders, but more recently was looking to start a venture of her own. None of her children wanted to take over the store.
"I'm very proud of her," said Chrisman who now owns nearby Black Orchid Boutique. "I always enjoyed it but my children got out of the scene – they're older, they've got wives, and children, and jobs. [Ashley] was kind of like was my right hand."
So Jakiela stepped up, taking ownership in March. When she and Nye took over the store, they kept much of the same inventory and management philosophy, but changed the name, branding it their own.
"We pretty much kept the same things just put a different spin on it," Jakiela said.
The young entreprenuers took to the various social media outlets. Harmony Skateshop has a presence on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Jakiela's degree in graphic design also has translated to new marketing ideas. She creates the store's logos, business cards, posters, and shirts to "make the shop itself a brand," she said.
"It's a big part of our shop to have our [skate] team and to get our name out there," she said. "Kids seem to want to buy and wear our stuff.'
Harmony's skate team is made up of skaters from Crystal Lake, Woodstock, McHenry, Carpentersville and Gurnee, and range in age from 16 to 24 years old, and they're no amateurs.
Last summer Harmony Skateshop reached a seemingly unattainable goal. The freshman retail store was the underdog in the TopShop, a weekend long skate competition that pits store against store.
The Harmony team took home first place and $750.
"People were saying 'who are these people,'" Jakiela said. "We just started, and we have this crazy awesome group of kids."
Harmony Skateshop has an array of products for men, women and youth, including apparel, accessories, footwear, skateboards, and skateboard components. The store is open from noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays. They can be reached at 815-344-1730 or by visiting www.harmonyskateshop.com.