The Spot: How Silo Skate Shop in Grand Island, Nebraska, Came to Be More Than a Skate Shop
It was 22 years ago when owner and founder of Silo skate shop, Brant Van Boening saw the need in Grand Island, Nebraska, for a spot where the local skate community could hang out.
He was working for a hobby-sized skate shop at the time, and when his boss at the shop got married, Van Boening borrowed money from his parents and bought the business. He was 14.
Today, Van Boening’s shop is exactly the skate oasis he set out to create. He credits his success to a mixture of forging relationships with locals and being selective when it comes to stocking his stores.
When the Grand Island store was renovated in 2007, and a new Omaha location opened in 2014, Van Boening wanted them to have a minimalistic aesthetic. Both shops have simple wood floors, white walls, and black tin ceilings. “We want the product to speak for itself and be seen as a curated, consistent story that will be told as you explore and shop with us,” he explains.
The roster of vendors carried by Silo is slim because Van Boening is particular about the brands he chooses, and only sells quality merch he knows his customers will appreciate. “We wear, ride and fully test every product we sell and won’t carry it if we don’t see a value in it.”
Silo has been long-time partners with Habitat and Alien Workshop. They also carry goods from small brands like Pass~Port, Palace, Polar and Magenta alongside bigger brands like Stussy and Patagonia. Footwear is a big part of the store; their wall of Vans is one of the first things you notice when you enter the store.
Even with all of Silo’s success, including the newly opened second outpost, Van Boening is honest about the struggles of owning and operating a small business, “It is a battle out there to compete for customers’ attention,” he says. “We are a small business working hard everyday to survive, so we’re appreciative of our patrons for voting to keep us around with their dollars.”
Van Boening’s earnest and grateful attitude have earned Silo a sterling reputation within Omaha and Grand Island, turning both shops into fixtures of their local skating communities.