Vital Skates: Indianapolis’s Home Grown Derby Shop

Derby skaters love their gear. Wheels (mostly). Boots. Plates. Shoestrings (you read that vital-skates-logoright). Pads. But with all the different products in the derby market, it can be hard to know what gear is the right fit (both in intended use and literal fit). Thankfully here in Indianapolis we have Vital Skates to help us out.

“I’ve always been obsessed with skate gear,” said Vital Skates owner Korvin Bothwell. And when he was let go from his network engineering job due to downsizing he decided to open a skate shop with Strawberry Jam.

“We got a copy of Small Business for Dummies and went through it chapter by chapter,” said Korvin. “We followed the advice and developed our business plan.” They reached out to the Indiana Small Business Development Center and their network (you’d be  surprised the network playing derby will help you build), and opened Vital Skates in Fountain Square in December of 2011.

Passion is helping out a skater when you're enjoying a beer at the bout.

Passion is helping out a skater when you’re enjoying a beer at the bout.

“We opened with 5 pairs of skates and a handful of wheels,” said Korvin. And when I asked him why he chose to open the shop in Fountain Square, he mentioned the normal stuff such as cost and finding a good landlord. But when he talks about the area as a whole you get the real story. “It’s been my favorite neigborhood in Indy for a long time. It’s gorgeous and there’s so much expression. It’s like a dream.”

Vital Skates has grown to become trusted derby gear provider for derby skaters across the state, and beyond. They’ve had customers seek them out from as far as Pennsylvania. And with good reason. Derby gear can be (and for most of us is) a black hole in which money disappears. Korvin stays on top of all the latest (and sometimes not so latest) gear, and will help a skater find exactly what they need (and within their budget). He’ll tell you if the new shiny thing you’re looking for is worth your money. And if something goes wrong, he’ll try to make it right (trust me on this, my husband is notoriously hard on skate gear and Korvin is always there to help). Korvin has been involved with the Naptown Roller Girls since 2008, and has been coaching them for two years so he knows the specific needs of derby skaters. He is also a sponsor of several teams including the Naptown Roller Girls, the Circle City Derby Girls, and the Race City Rebels (and last Rebels bout I saw him tweaking Ginger Avenger’s skates  before the bout).

So what advice does Korvin have for anyone who wants to undertake a huge project? “Don’t be afraid to say ‘No.’ Don’t let your circumstances decide what opportunities you take. Set priorities.”

Vital Skates is located 1022 Virginia Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46203. They are open Monday-Friday 12:00pm-6:00pm and Saturday 12:00pm-5:00pm.

One Response to “Vital Skates: Indianapolis’s Home Grown Derby Shop”
  1. Amelia B Killya says:

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