Roller Derby skaters Bonnie Thunders and OMG WTF were constantly frustrated by the inability to find the perfect skate for their feet. At that time, there were no local options to buy gear. After stumbling upon a tiny 150 square foot retail space for rent down the street from our house and Gotham Girls Roller Derby practice space, we figured this would be the perfect test site for a skate shop in NYC, and with that, Five Stride was born in April 2010.
Bonnie and OMG were the perfect pair to open the shop. Bonnie’s experience was in competitive ice figure skating so she was knowledgeable about boot fit. OMG is a trained bicycle mechanic who previously owned their own bike shop. Combined with Bonnie’s experience in not for profit organizations, where you do a lot on a small budget, this combination was flawless.
We quickly grew out of the original Astoria, Queens shop and made the move to Brooklyn at the end of 2010. The shop joined the ranks of the Graham Avenue Business District and fellow small businesses, King Kog, The Richardson, and Beaner Bar (RIP), to name a few. As one of the first five brick and mortar derby shops in the country, Five Stride set out to be different. We didn’t want to be a roller derby shop-- we wanted to serve all types of roller skaters. With NYC’s rich roller skating history and skating making a come back in NYC, we focused on building inventory to serve derby, recreational, and rink skaters at the new shop.
With NYC’s rents always on the rise, Five Stride moved a little further east in 2015 to a storefront as part of the Williamsburg Houses on Bushwick Ave in East Williamsburg. In late 2016, Bonnie and OMG hired and trained staff to manage and operate the Brooklyn shop so we could move to Portland, OR to open a second Five Stride location. In 2019, the Brooklyn shop moved next door to a bigger space at 176 Bushwick Ave to continue to add to product inventory and give a more comfortable experience for customers.The PDX location opened in a tiny nondescript brick building just off of Sandy Boulevard in the Kerns neighborhood in late 2016. In October 2021, with the pandemic catapulting roller skating into mainstream popularity, the Portland shop moved to a bigger warehouse space where we have more space for customers and product as well as space for a mini ramp for skating during those long Portland winters.
Five Stride is more than a shop, it’s a community, it’s a place to learn, and most importantly- it’s an opinion you can trust.