Working for a Living for April 11, 2013

For Weekly SurgeApril 9, 2013 

Stacie Rush: The Longboard Life

Stacie Rush, originally from Arizona, arrived in Myrtle Beach nearly eight years ago after a short stint in South Florida.

“We weren’t enjoying Florida as much as we thought we would, although we did want the beach life and all of that,” she says. A random e-mail about Surfside Beach popped up in her inbox, and this prompted Rush and husband Brad Rush to take a road trip here one July 4th holiday. They wound up finding a house in Myrtle Beach and soon dove right in to life on the Grand Strand with their two young daughters, Riana and Mallory.

Five years ago, they founded what is now a thriving online business called Longboard Skater [ www.longboardskater.com], and opened their brick and mortar store in September on North Broadway Street in Myrtle Beach. “My husband started skateboarding back in the late 1970s, and this seemed to be a logical next step for us,” says Rush in a recent press release. She tells Weekly Surge that the whole family skates. “It’s just a good activity across the board for everybody.”

Some folks may have noticed an upswing in longboards on the Grand Strand, and there is a marked difference between these and their smaller counterparts. “Skating on those little decks as kids, all of the falling down and all of the tricks you tried to learn – it’s hard on the body. The longboarding just seems much more gentle, and I think it’s easier than standard skateboarding myself,” she says. “A lot of these boards are lower to the ground, so you get a better sense of balance or gravity. The shorter boards with smaller trucks sit up high and they teeter. You kind of feel tippy, like they are going to go out from under you. The longboards seem to have a much better grounding to them; wider trucks, wider wheels, wider platforms.”

Fair enough, but how did Longboard Skater get started?

“This was something that we loved to do that we could share with other people. You know that sense of excitement of sharing what you love to do.” She adds that her husband has a Web design background and the two have had experience in the retail sector. “It seemed to make a fit to go the Web route, but as the site grew, we really wanted to let people come in to touch and feel and see.”

The storefront makes this a visceral experience. “These kids that have been scoping out the Web sites and forums – and who are just crazy about learning – can just walk in and see this – a hundred different boards and decks and all of the wheels. It gives them a whole different sense, and it’s exciting.” Longboard Skater also gives customers the option of a fully customized product, a “build-your-own-board” sort of equation.

The Rushes are also supporters of making the downtown Myrtle Beach area more of a destination. “The colorful awnings are going up, and I’m hoping the city may come back through and get the twinkle lights back up – and get the benches going again. This would make it friendlier to walk the streets and go from one shop to another shop or go to a café – it would be a really cool thing for Myrtle Beach to have.”

Rush recently traded a gas guzzler for a red Chevy Spark, which is emblazoned with stickers. “It sits in front of our shop, and people might see us running around town in that – with Independent, Bones and Powell and all of the skate stickers all over it.”

Of course, skating is always on the agenda for fun, but Rush also enjoys weekly visits to the beach if the weather cooperates. Sometimes a family outing to Broadway at the Beach is in order. “We are habitual diners and love to eat out,” she says, citing Little Tokyo at Coastal Grand Mall and especially El Cerro Grande. “Being from Arizona, I’m a Mexican food girl.”

Have the Rushes laid down sufficient roots here to call Myrtle Beach home?

“Well, we own a business and a home, and we have two kids in an amazing school district, so I think we’re pretty planted.”

Know of a local with an interesting job or career that should be given the Working 4 A Living treatment? Contact Roger Yale at rgyale@gmail.com

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