Check the Label: Salemtown Board Co., Taking Skaters Out of the Park and Into the Wild
Founder of Salemtown Board Co., Will Anderson, has always been socially conscious.
“I was always actively involved in the community,” he says. “Saturday mornings, my dad would take my brother and me to do trash cleanups on the road.”
A former social worker, he credits his upbringing. It was during those formative years that he also discovered his love of the outdoors, growing up in Florida" either at the beach or the skatepark."
So when Anderson set out to start his Nashville-based skate shop, Salemtown, he did it with job creation and community in mind.
“As Americans we kind of have this separation in our minds between doing good and making money,” he says, “and there are a lot of people who feel like they want to do something proactively good for their cities and they assume their only options are non-profit or social work.”
As a business owner, he realized, he could enact social change. In 2012, “we started in a rough neighborhood on purpose with the goal of hiring locals,” he says. “We wanted to create jobs for people who needed them.”
As well as always striving to better their neighborhood and city, there’s another goal Anderson has in mind: to merge the worlds of extreme sports and what he calls “outdoorsy stuff.”
“Historically there's definitely a divide between those two worlds, but I see that gap closing,” he says.
“Right now more people live in cities than they ever have, but when you go on social media you see people craving the outdoors more than they ever have,” he continues. “We realize there are a lot of people who love the outdoors and we think skateboarding is one the best ways to get people out there.”
This informs Salemtown Board Co.’s distinctive lookbooks, which are shot at Anderson’s Smoky Mountains cabin. He heads up there with a group of friends and photographers and they’ll often skate down the mountain roads.
“What does it look like to be for the good of our neighborhood and our city in a way that allows us to pay our bills and stay relevant to the people who are buying our brand?” Anderson asks. He might not have the answer yet, but it looks like Salemtown Board Co. is well on its way to figuring it out.
To see more from Salemtown Board Co. head over to their website.