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T&F Outdoor Sports was a hunting and fishing store on Plainfield Avenue in Edison, NJ. One day over the summer of 1986, as my friends and I were skating past the store front, we saw a few complete skateboards on display in the front window — A Powell Peralta Tony Hawk and a Vision Gator. This stopped us in our tracks. There were no skate shops in Edison — Hell, there was nothing in Edison. We immediately bust through the front door of the shop and demanded to know what these boards were doing in the window.

The owners of the shop, Tom and Frank (T&F get it?) were surprised to see us come storming in and in numbers and ask what the deal was. They said that Frank’s son had an interest in skateboarding and so they decided to carry a few boards just to see if anyone would care. Well, right then and there they understood clearly — We cared.

Almost overnight, a hunting and fishing shop, with the guidance of this group of punk-kids, also became a full-service skate shop. I had just returned from Oceanside, CA where I had won the National Amateur Street Style Championships and I was also on the cover of the current issue of Thrasher Magazine — The skateboard boom was alive and well and I was personally helping deliver it to my hometown. And in that, T&F Outdoor Sports became an unlikely ally — But then we as skaters had been starved for attention for so long that we were open to and appreciative of their participation — Or for that matter, anyone’s participation.

Frank’s dad, Tony ran the skate shop. Although he was was a grandfather, all the skaters in Edison connected with and had a relationship with Tony. He was a personal friend and confidant of mine as I navigated my way through my early days of sponsorship — And Tony actually ended up helping me shape my very first pro-model board with Powell Peralta. A moment I will never forget — Tony rolling that piece of cardboard out on the counter at T&F and seeing for the first time the shape that would become the Elephant board.

When T&F decided to do a commercial on local cable television in the late autumn of ’86, I was the featured skater. As silly as it seemed at the time and as silly as it is now — The memories of that shop are very vivid in my mind — And watching this commercial now, from a small window in time, when everything in skateboarding and everything in my hometown seemed so magical and limitless, only makes me smile.

— Mike V