Faith Skate Supply is Birmingham’s first skate shop—learn more

Faith Skate Supply
Owner Peter Karvonen of Faith Skate Supply. (Selah Vetter / Bham Now)

What started as a hobby after school to fill up time as Peter Karvonen waited for his mom to come home from work turned into his full-time job. He went from skating in Vestavia as a kid to establishing Birmingham as an epicenter for skateboarding in Alabama. Read on to learn all about Peter’s store, Faith Skate Supply— Birmingham’s first skate shop.

One of Alabama’s first skate shops is in Birmingham

Since he was a teen, skateboarding has been part of who Peter is. So, to make his dream a reality, he went to business school at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Then, when he was only 21, he opened the doors to his very own skate shop.

“In 1995, we started with maybe 10 boards on the wall, no shoes and hardly any apparel. Then, skateboarding had a big boom in about 2000. If you lived in Alabama, there was only one other skate shop in Alabama at the time and the Internet was not around. So if you want to skateboard products, you would drive to Birmingham.”

Peter Karvoven, Owner, Faith Skate Supply

Over the past 27 years, Faith Skate Supply has made a handful of locations in Southside home. Peter is passionate about staying in the downtown area because it’s the kind of urban setting that embodies the skating scene.

What’s skating like today in Birmingham?

Faith Skate Supply
I’m in love with these bright-colored painted skateboards. (Selah Vetter / Bham Now)

For a while, Birmingham didn’t have an official skate park, so Peter became creative with more opportunities for skaters to show off their tricks. When there weren’t any skate parks in the city, Peter and his team built ones themselves—DIY style.

Back then, before Regions Field, there was a slab of concrete left where an old shoe factory burnt down. Peter saw that as an opportunity to create a skatepark. The local community gathered around him to help in any way they could to build these DIY skateparks around the city to have places they could gather together and show off their tricks.

Now, he’s over the moon about City Walk Skatepark—Birmingham’s biggest skatepark that opened downtown in June. Having a state-of-the-art, designated spot for skaters has been pivotal for the growing interest in skateboarding.

“There are 50 year old skateboarders, little five year olds, girls and guys and adaptive sports skateboards for people with disabilities. As long as you’re having fun, you’re doing it great.”

Peter Karvoven, Owner, Faith Skate Supply

What’s at Faith Skate Supply?

Peter said the great thing about skating is that it doesn’t take that much to start—just a board and the passion to start rolling down the street. Luckily, it can take about $100 for you to have a brand-new skateboard.

If you’re looking for all the bells and whistles, Faith Skate Supply has you covered. The store definitely embraces the cool, skater vibe with its bright-colored painted boards and stylish apparel and shoes. From head to toe, you’ll become a skater in no time.

Curious about other small businesses you can support in The Magic City? Check out our local biz guide with 900+ businesses.

Selah Vetter
Selah Vetter
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