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Todd Buckley: Owner of WWS Boardshop

CDN's weekly community profile

Todd Buckley in the WWS Boardshop Wednesday, May 15 in downtown Bellingham. In addition to skating, snowboarding and surfing, Buckley enjoys swimming, fishing and hiking in the summer. (Eli Voorhies/Cascadia Daily News)
By Jaya Flanary Digital Editor/Designer

Todd Buckley (he/him)

Age: 40

City: Bellingham

Lived here for: 33 years

Originally from: Redmond

Notable: Owner of WWS Boardshop, which offers snowboard, skate and surf gear, and services.

Tell me about the history of the board shop.

It started in 1980 just as a windsurfing shop, and they just had a little corner in the dive shop that used to be up here on State Street, and then … found a more permanent spot down there in Fairhaven. The original owner owned it I think until ’92, and sold it to a couple of his employees. At that time, that’s when they kind of started transitioning towards selling more skateboards, and then snowboards … I bought my first skateboard down there, I think [in] ’96. I was a longtime loyal customer and eventually started working there. In 2013, I had the opportunity to buy the shop from my previous employer. In 2016, we had the opportunity to move it over here [on Maple Street].

How did you make the transition from customer to employee to owner?

It was, you know, kind of a typical skate shop. The kids all kind of hang out, meet up at the shop and then you go and do your skateboarding. My best friend ended up working in the shop for a while, he’s the one who hired me … in 2006, I would have been 21 or 22. I just worked there for a number of years. I actually left and went back to school for a while and just kind of caught wind my old boss, the former owner, was looking to sell the shop and so I just thought it was a good opportunity and wanted to see this thing keep going.

Because you snowboard, skate and surf, do you ever feel like your work life and personal life are too intertwined?

Occasionally, but no. I love seeing people being up at the mountain and some guy is walking across the parking lot and he’s like, ‘Yo, you sold me this snowboard, this thing’s awesome.’ I love hearing that. That really kind of makes my day, and that’s why I do what I do.

What services does the boardshop offer?

We do snowboard repairs and tuning, like waxing, sharpening edges, base repairs … Kids come in, and they need to fix their bearing or somebody buys a skateboard, [and] we put all the grip tape and throw it all together for them.

Tell me about your first skateboard.

I was probably 12 and lived on this cul-de-sac. There was a new kid in the neighborhood and he skated … He’s falling in and doing kickflips. I just thought that seemed pretty cool. He came over and let us borrow his board … My upcoming birthday I was like, ‘I want a skateboard, I’m gonna do this.’

What would you say to a newbie who feels overwhelmed or intimidated about coming into the shop for the first time?

[We] have welcoming staff, we really like to help people out … I can understand it being intimidating, but that’s why we’re here. We’re here to help.

What's your favorite memory from working at the shop?

I get to just meet a lot of really awesome folks around here … Last year, it was 10 years of me owning the shop and we put on this big sale. The amount of response and awesome things that people had to say was really cool, really awesome feedback. It’s nice to know that it’s appreciated and I’m doing the right thing here, I think.

Do you see yourself doing this for a long time?

I mean, I don’t see myself feeling like I want to get out of it anytime soon. So I think, you know, things are on a good trajectory here and I’d like to just keep it going.

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