New Bruised Brigade custom roller skate store opens in Rochester NY
Bettie Pain found herself on wheels.
“Roller skating has given me the freedom to be myself and to enjoy who I was for the first time in my life,” said the 45-year-old, reflecting on what has been a long and winding trip.
Like many people, the New York native first got a taste of skating when she was young. The place was Bay Shore Roller Rink on Long Island. Although she has fond memories of the experience, she admitted that at the time she was more focused on snacks.
“I was not an active child,” she said. “I would go to the rink just to eat the fries.”
Fast forward to 2012. She and a few friends were at a bar, “and I was recovering from a really bad breakup,” she said. Impulsively, they signed up for a roller derby training camp.
This led to her becoming a member of a roller derby team – several, in fact, and that’s where she took the name Bettie Pain, which she is in the process of making permanent. “This is what I do,” she said. But team sports had never been his thing.
“I just decided I liked roller skating,” she said. “I just have wheels under my feet. “
So she veered off the roller derby track. However, she wasn’t entirely happy with the performance of her admittedly inexpensive skates and turned to an experienced friend.
“He said, ‘You have to change course.’ I had no idea, ”she said.
Not only did she learn to change her bearings, but she found her bearings, found sobriety – and her profession as a professional repairing skates, making them from various types of shoes and running a roller skate shop in the city. northern state.
Last year all of those experiences came full circle for her in Rochester, and just over a week ago, she opened her own roller skate store, The Bruised Brigade at 85 Howell St., no. away from the Rainbow of the Strong National Museum of Play. covered parking.
It is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Mondays; from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday; and closed on Tuesday.
“I needed a change of scenery,” she said of her move to the area. His partner, Scott Tyx, lived in Buffalo, but Pain is not a Queen City fan. “It’s not really my scene.”
She had already visited the city of flowers and found it “much more welcoming to my strangeness”.
In addition, his skills were needed here. Aaron Costa, owner of Krudco Skate Shop, which has been in existence since 1994 and sells skateboards, gear and more, wanted to expand into the custom roller skate market. “But he didn’t know it too well,” Pain said.
Costa’s store has a long history of repairing and developing roller skates and selling roller skate parts.
“I have been in this game for 27 years,” he said. “But I wanted someone to do constructions (of roller skates) who would have a little more knowledge about the different types of constructions for people.”
In a July 2020 Instagram post, he announced that he was looking to hire such a person.
Pain responded, and not only was she qualified, but said she would be heading to Rochester for an interview.
Costa was impressed with his “go-getter,” he said.
“It was a big part of it,” he said. “She came in for an interview for a job she didn’t know she was going to get. And she took the plunge that day and helped a few people.”
He hired her on the spot and she started in early August, just as Krudco was moving from 371 Park Ave. at 60 Mt. Hope Ave. (Prior to Park Avenue, it operated from 83 Howell St.)
Despite the difficulties retailers faced as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, Krudco’s skateboarding and roller skating businesses were booming, online and in person, much like the cycling industry at that time.
And by April of this year, Pain said, the roller skate portion “had increased so much. I was literally using a little work bench near the display case, and it got to the point where we were like,” It’s time to get a little bigger. “
It was then that her journey took a different turn and she decided to go it alone and open The Bruised Brigade. She said she couldn’t have done it without Costa, despite not being her partner in the business – Tyx is.
Costa knew that Pain eventually wanted to have his own store. “It just happened a little earlier as it happened,” he said. With his departure, Krudco does not plan to offer custom skates. He will always sell roller skate parts. But he presented Krudco and The Bruised Brigade as complementary businesses serving the same skating community.
The Bruised Brigade also sells roller skate parts and protective gear, clothing and accessories, as well as custom made roller skates by Pain.
Using high top sneakers like Vans SK8-Hi is the best solution, she said, as they offer a lot of support, especially around the ankles. But while she was making skates, “people brought me anything from a Converse to a Doc Marten to a stripper shoe.”
While working in the New York City area, she was even asked to make skates out of flip-flops and Crocs, the ubiquitous rubber clogs.
She wasn’t a fan of either of these projects, but she understands that clients want what clients want.
“If you want me to do it, I’ll give you 700 reasons not to do it,” she said, “but if that’s what you want, I say, ‘Go to town. “”
By the way, making skates out of Doc Martens isn’t really a country car ride.
Putting screws through their hard outsoles and AirWare inner padding “is literally like trying to screw screws not even into an egg crate but into an air mattress,” she said.
At first she was frustrated and even angry with the process. “But I did and got good at it.”
But more than making skates or running a retail operation, “My goal is just to have people skate and feel the sheer, pure joy that comes with it,” she said.
This is why The Bruised Brigade offers free classes at 6 p.m. on Mondays in a parking lot in front of the School Without Walls at 480 Broadway and why at 6 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays alternately, it organizes “community deployments”, where skaters of all ages and from all walks of life tour the city, starting with the store. (More information is posted on his Instagram account.)
Pain also spoke fondly of her desire to “build a community of beautiful humans” who feel happy and at peace, just as she does when she is on skates.
“If someone feels like an outcast, I want them to know they have a place,” she said. “You are going to meet a lot of great people. “