The first time I went out to this shop was to collect some folks and get on the road to LA. It was dark and the stop was uber quick. I then had another chance to get out and see the shop in the day and for a bit of time to kind of check it out. At this point the shop was in transition and the space was being readied for the mini ramp. Below is a brief interview with a good friend of mine and a smattering of photos that really only hit the tip of an iceberg that is a hot spot for skating in the lovely downtown area of Livermore. Check it out, and then, if your in the area drop in and see how the kids at 621 get it done.
C: Name, age, position at the shop.
J: Jason La Barbera, 37, co-owner.
C: How long has 6 twentyone been around?
J: We started working on the build in April of 2008 and officially opened our doors in Nov 2008.
C: How did you get involved with a skate shop?
J: My partner Dave Eastman and I grew up together in San Leandro. We skated quite a bit and loved the industry and the people we met along the way. We shared the same views of most of the industry; that there are a lot of bull shit politics and who-knows-who, and not really about the skating. So we decided we would try and change a lot of that and provide the resources to help the community and most importantly the riders. We wanted them to have a place to hang out and skate and also give them advice and resources to help them navigate through the industry and avoid a lot of the bullshit they might otherwise get sucked into.
C: Can you give me some background on the name of the shop?
J: Yah, people always wonder what the name means. It's named after June 21st (6-21). Go skateboarding day. Most people think its our address but we're actually located at 2321 First Street. 2321 just didn't have enough soul in it, so we think we made the right choice.
C: I know 621 has gone through a lot of changes just recently. How is that workin out?
J: When we first opened, the city wasn't really sure about another skate shop. The previous shops weren't really run as clean businesses, but more like heroin dens, with music, underage kids partying and doing shit they shouldn't have been doing. I've heard stories about the city walking in on a party where underage kids were in backrooms doing some pretty crazy shit. They weren't going to let that happen with us and in fact said we couldn't have any ramps because the zoning wouldn't allow it. It took us about 6 months to convince the city that we weren't going to have teenage orgies in the shop and they permitted us to build a mini ramp in the back of the shop. That permit eventually let us build the mini that is inside the shop. We teach lessons, throw contests and open it up for sessions all the time. It's working out real well so far. We have plans to bowl out the ramp inside the shop by summer time and we're going to make the outside ramp much bigger.
C: How does 621 get involved with the local community?
J: We're all about the community. We donate a lot of free stuff and lessons to underprivileged kids and other community groups. We are a venue for local bands to show the world what the got. we give back any way we can. That's really the core of what we do. Our mantra is help others and they'll help you back.
C: 3 years down the line...whats goin on with the shop?
J: By then we have a street park built on the lot next door (our landlord owns it and wants us to build) and the ramps are all interconnected from the inside of the shop, to the outside ramp, so the lines will go on for days and days and days. We're really starting to get into contests, events and video production too. We like to think and dream big and most importantly execute... too many people talk about shit and never do it. We like to talk, but we mostly like to deliver. Keep an eye out for the events for sure, they'll be a mix of large and small. The largest will be at Altamont Speedway this October. We have some big music acts already lined up and we'll be partnering with a lot of great companies to make this thing pop. It'll be a skate contest, music, independent skate film festival at the same spot of the infamous Rolling Stones concert in 1969. We're also having our Best of the Bay again this year on June 5th and 6th. Last years was incredible, but we learned a lot and figured out some better ways to do things this time around. You can expect us to do big things, take big risks and to have a really good stable of riders who we call La Familia.
C: Thanks for your time Jason, your one of the good ones!! Any shout outs as we wrap this bizzle up?
J: Yah, thanks to our loyal customers, our team and the community that supports us. Our team: McClain, Balogh, Henderson, Manchester and all the locals... Jake, Vinnie, Feldman, Clayton, Ben, Mike O, Cal, Kyle, Mitchell, etc etc. Sorry I know I'm missing a million others. We promise to keep giving back. So please continue to support us.