Colorful skateboards are hung like expensive artwork on the walls of Port Monmouth's newest small business, Nephews Skateshop + Gallery.
The owners of the skate equipment, repair shop and clothing boutique want to make their store unique by highlighting the creative side of skateboarding. On Saturday night they invited guests to a Grand Opening party at the art gallery to unveil new skateboard-inspired art.
“Skaters are really into art, really into their sport," said Shawn Woodward, who runs the shop with his brother, Brian, a photographer.
“I think it’s a different niche we’re trying to get to,” Shawn said. “The response has been very positive and I think people are interested in it. There’s art galleries in Red Bank and Asbury Park, but what we’re trying to do is blend the two—skateboarding and art—and bring it into one place.”
The shop is located at 183 Main Street next to the barbershop that was run by their late uncle Johnny McGowan, Crazy Johnny's.
“We decided to name it Nephews to pay tribute to him,” Shawn said. “He was a pretty big inspiration in our lives so we just went with it.”
The store carries popular lifestyle brands including 5boro, Brixton, HUF, Radlands, The Quiet Life. The store is managed by skater Dalton Graham.
There are public skate parks in Hazlet, Keansburg, Long Branch and Belmar, but none in Middletown since the one down the street was closed a few years ago after complaints.
The brothers are hoping that Nephews raises skateboarding's reputation in town. “I think there’s a bad stigma about skateboarders and we’re just trying to change everybody’s attitude toward it."
“We’re trying to inform people that all skaters aren’t punks,” Shawn said. "We’re just trying to be real. If they don’t want to buy anything they’re more than welcome to hangout and just enjoy the space. We have movies going on, pretty cool music, if they just want to hang, everyone’s welcome.”
Nephews Skateshop + Gallery is open Tuesday-Sunday, with hours of operation varying by day.
For more information, call 732-495-0750.