Evanston skaters get rolling in new store

Tegan Jones

A 60-inch television flashing clips of skateboarders landing the sport’s hardest jumps, ollies and grind stands against the back wall of the recently opened Lifted Skate Shop, 628 Church St.

A Playstation 2 sits waiting for action on the ground nearby. Between the 100-year-old glass cases filled with trucks, bearings and wheels and a wall of metal shoe shelves rests a wooden plank and metal grind rail, welcoming visitors to try out their skills.

Former professional snowboarder and lifetime skater Brad Court and his wife, Kristin Court, said they opened Lifted on March 20 aiming to do more than provide their customers with high quality skate gear and unique women’s fashion. They also want to cultivate a community where skateboarders of all ages and levels can come together to learn and have fun.

Hailing from Birmingham, Mich., a northern suburb of Detroit, Brad Court said the experience of becoming a sponsored, professional snowboarder gave him confidence and helped him turn his life in the right direction.

“I try to return that now to these kids,” he said. For example, he sponsors one skater from each of the 27 stores that carry his line of skateboards, called “Rollin.”

His philosophy of giving back extends into the way the couple runs the store. Students from local middle and high schools are encouraged to come to the store after school to hang out, play video games and skate.

The couple said they try to foster this special atmosphere so that younger children can learn from the older skaters they admire without being intimidated. The store even employs the best skaters from area high schools.

“It’s important for kids to be able to talk to the guys they look up to,” Brad Court said.

Lifted also offers an unusual shopping experience for young women. With a wide array of bathing suits, girls’ shirts and pants, the store provides an alternative to the clothes sold at most local stores.

“Skate shops don’t sell women’s clothes,” said Lifted employee Melissa Dorner, a senior at Evanston Township High School.

Lifted also sells a wide variety of skate shoes, sweatshirts, backpacks and boards that buyers can custom design. It carries Roxy, Puma, Blind, Split, Hook-ups, Independent and other name brands at a price lower than other local skate shops charge, according to Lifted employee Warren Seekatz, an ETHS sophomore. The price is even lower for Northwestern students, who receive a special 15 percent discount with their WildCARDs.

Brad Court also is fighting for the renovation of the closed Robert Crown Skatepark. The laws in Evanston prohibit skateboarding on the street, leaving few places for skaters to practice.

“We’ll continue to skate around until there’s a place for us to go,” he said. “If they want to build us a park, we’ll go to the park.”

Until then, Court said they’ll have to stay in the street – or try out their grinding on Lifted’s rail.