Skates' Popularity Keeps Small Shop Busy With Rentals

While several rental shops in Venice and other beach areas carry in-line skates, there is only one place that rents them in the Valley--Valley Skate & Surf.

A tiny, cramped shop on Parthenia Boulevard in Sepulveda, it usually rents all 50 pairs of its Rollerblade skates on the weekends.

"We could rent more," co-owner Phyllis Fleschler said. "Fifty is not enough."

The charge for an hourly rental is $2.50; all-day rental costs $6, overnight, $7. Included are wrist guards and elbow and knee pads. Customers also have to sign a liability waiver. "No one gets out of here without knowing about safety equipment," Fleschler said.

The shop has been carrying in-line skates for 10 years, about as long as Rollerblade Inc. has been in business. But, "the first five years were dogs," Fleschler said. Although Fleschler won't say how many pairs of in-line skates the shop now sells, "They have been the bulk of our business the last two years," she said.

This month, the shop is celebrating its 10th anniversary under its current owners, Phyllis and her mother Mona, and is expanding next door.

The Fleschlers are unlikely owners of a skate 'n' surf shop. Phyllis, 32, graduated from UCLA with a degree in music education. She now spends a lot of time repairing skates. "I can't fix a car," she said, "but give me a pair of skates . . ."

Ten years ago, Mona was vice president of a cosmetics company but grew tired of being a hired hand and began looking into buying an established retail business. She discovered Valley Skate & Surf, five years old at the time.

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