Our story starts in 1997. Founders Billy Angus and Joe Burnham met as teenagers. We were just kids, but we felt this unexplainable pull towards where we are now.
We grew up down in the Ozarks of Missouri, in the small little town of Aurora. We weren't the first skaters there, but we ended up building a sizable crew, and the first seeds of owning our own skate shop were planted. This is where we learned that skating is fun enough by yourself, but if you have a community to skate with, then truly amazing things happen, real connections are made.
Time warp to 2010, longboarding has now exploded. The equipment, the companies, the industry in general has come to a point where the motion longboarding captures is realized, and it is when Joe discovered Longboarding. Everything clicked, the 15 years in corporate retail, the complete void of community for Longboarding in KC, a veritable confluence of factors that we didn't fully realize was all a part of the plan. Joe went to Billy with his quiver of two generically set up longboards, fully wrecked Billy on their first session in years, and in 2012 we opened Burning Spider Stoke Company out of Joe's garage in Raytown.
From 2010 to now our biggest focus has been in engaging and developing our local community. How cool can we make it? Is our guiding question. Contests, group rides, 8 years of our signature Stoke Clinics, building our own boards, how cool can we make it? This quest has lead to some to some cornerstones in our beliefs, our practices, and our ideals.
1) Community is everything. No community, no shop, no fun. There is Room Enough for everyone on a skateboard. This community transcends standard cultural norms, and is a shining example of what a diverse group of individuals can accomplish when differences are highlighted and celebrated as a part of a greater whole. We are constantly looking for effective ways to serve more effectively.
2) Quality of equipment available has a direct correlation to the progression possible in a given community. Substandard, not appropriate for the terrain gear leads to injury, or even worse, the belief that an individual is not able to skate. Anyone can skate. Any age can skate. If your gear makes you think you can't do it, then it has no place in our shop. There are so many great companies out there. We pick the companies that believe what we believe to carry in our shop. These are companies like us who believe in the power of community and dedication to the quality of goods to help individuals take their riding as far as they care to. We can't fit it all, we refuse to sell substandard gear, so our focus falls squarely into the dependable middle. We don't even sell the most expensive gear. Our shop is for the dedicated daily user, the commuter, the person let down by cheap knock off companies who could care less as to how their gear allows the rider to move, the person just starting out but who wants to give themselves the best start one can. Our selection is indicative of the styles of skating possible in our small little corner of the world.
3)This started as fun, this is supposed to be fun, and the end goal is to have more fun. If it isn't fun, the it's not for us. We work really hard, so as many peoples as we can help to have fun, have the most fun. When you walk into our shop, order something online, or interact with us through the web, we want it to be fun, so you can have fun. The Shralpers Union mission of spreading High Fives and Positive Vibes through the industry and community is a non-negotiable. What we sell ins't to be hardcore, it isn't to ego stroke some out of touch individual, we want to be a part of a fun community, so fun has to be number one. We may not be the best, but I can assure you, we are the most fun.
4) Change is constant, challenge is critical to progression, and using the lessons taught in skateboarding all of it just helps us and our community get better. Not for the sake of being the best, but being the best we can be. We make mistakes, we fall, we fail, but we get back on board, and we keep striving to be as great as we can be. If we do our part, then hopefully we can empower others to succeed in what ever endeavor they set about, whether that is in skating or beyond.
Thank you so much for your support, and for coming with us on this journey. Let's GO! Shralp IT!!