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St. James brothers turn longboarding passion into business

Rewind Board Shop in St. James -- an authorized dealer of more than 13 brands of longboards -- which will be celebrating its first anniversary Nov. 11, is doing "shockingly well" said co-owner Matteo Pino due to the growing popularity of the sport. Videojournalist: Amanda Douville (Oct. 14, 2012)

Last summer, Matteo Pino was sitting in his parent’s car coming home from Longboard Loft, a skate shop in Manhattan. Discouraged by the long drive from the city, Matteo jokingly began talking to his parents about an idea.

“Wouldn’t it be cool if we opened a longboard shop by us?” Matteo asked, only 14 at the time.

Surprisingly, they encouraged the idea and began offering names they could call the shop. A few days later, Matteo and his older brother, Anthony, began researching what it would take to turn a simple car conversation into a reality.

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“We did a lot of research as far as what it is to become an authorized dealer for these companies, how to get in contact with them, getting a New York State resale license,” said Anthony Pino, 22, of St. James, co-owner of Rewind Board Shop. “We got the ball rolling after a bit.”

After days of research, the Pino brothers sat down with their parents and began developing a business plan. Their parents, MaryAnn and Tony Pino, are both business owners and were able to help them figure out exactly what needed to be done.

“We weren’t just going into it blind, we had a lot of expertise behind it from our parents,” said Matteo, 15, of St. James, co-owner of Rewind Board Shop. “Pretty much what they did was get all the business stuff taken care of from copyrighting the name to legal things and that helped us a lot.”

After figuring out legalities and receiving financial investments from family members, the last step was finding a store. Inventory, posters and board shelves were already coming. Tony Pino recalls their basement looking more like a mini-warehouse as they began searching for the right place.

“We really wanted to find something that would be on [the] main street in our hometown,” said Anthony, who attended the Institute of Audio Recording in Manhattan where he earned a degree in audio production and recording arts. “Growing up here I remember biking and skating everyday and over the years it’s diminished, so we figured there’s no better place to do it than the main drag in our hometown.”

Originally, the Pino brothers were looking at a location by the St. James Long Island Rail Road station. But they wanted to be closer to the main strip of town, so they settled at 451 Lake Ave., the main street in St. James. The building, originally a mortgage broker’s office filled with cubicles, was a long shot from a skate shop.

“We came in with hammers and boots and kicked down walls and put carpet in,” Matteo said.

On Nov. 11, 2011, only three days after Anthony signed the lease, Rewind Board Shop was open for business. Almost a year later, Rewind is looking forward to its anniversary and the Pino brothers say business is better than ever.

“It’s going shockingly well,” said Matteo, a junior at Smithtown High School East. “When we opened, we were a little skeptical because the sport isn’t that big out here. Once more people started getting comfortable with the idea, it brought more people in and families that were interested in the sport and eventually it took off from there. People have just been loving it and it’s growing rapidly.”

Longboarding originated in Hawaii and California in the 1950s when surfers were curious about taking their boarding skills to the streets. Longboards are most commonly used to cruise around casually, but they can also be used for downhilling, technical sliding and long-distance racing. Longboarding has slowly made its way to the East Coast and is quickly gaining popularity.

Scott Miceli, Matteo’s best friend since first grade, even had doubts about the shop when Matteo first brought up the idea to him.

“We’ve all gone through our phases together and I just said ‘Oh yeah, that would be cool,’ I thought it was just another phase we would go through,” said Miceli, 16, of St. James. “But then I would go to his house and see the shelves are being built and he began ordering boards and gear and I thought this is great, he is really determined.”

“During the week after three [o'clock], if you come in here it is filled with kids,” said Tony Pino, 50, of St. James. “This is their spot.”

In its inaugural year, the shop has sponsored longboarding events and hosted its own slide jam, a downhill competition where participants take turns riding down a hill performing sliding tricks like 180-degree turns and riding on two back wheels. Rewind also has already sponsored two major skaters, Josh Wright and Steven Kong.

MaryAnn Pino said it’s all about the community and making sure children have a safe place to hangout.

“What matters the most is these kids that I watched grow up from when they were little, that they have a place to go,” said MaryAnn, 49, of St. James. “They are the older generation kids can look up to.”

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