Sports Opening Up Entrepreneurship

REVVING UP: El Camino Skate Shop, For New & Seasoned Skaters

local skater and artist turns childhood dream to reality by opening skater hub

McKenna Scherer, photos by Andrea Paulseth |

KICK FLIPPIN' IT. El Camino Skate Shop recently opened up on Brackett Avenue (neighbors of Jay Ray's Deli, who fittingly have a sandwich called The Kick Flip).
KICK FLIPPIN' IT. El Camino Skate Shop recently opened up on Brackett Avenue (neighbors of Jay Ray's Deli, which fittingly have a sandwich called The Kick Flip!).

Sometimes childhood dreams stay tucked away in a little corner of your mind, a reminder of dreams not yet chased or a spark that’s just waiting to catch. For Tyler Morse, that spark came in the form of a building on Brackett Avenue, which would soon become home to El Camino Skate Shop.

If you’re a skater or like to get inked around Eau Claire, you probably know Morse. Growing up in the Chippewa Valley, he has nearly spent more time on a board than not: He started skating in 2000 at age 12. Recalling that, he realized there’s only one other thing he’s been practicing longer than skating: art. It makes sense he’s an artist at Gold Snake Tattoo, and his talent came in handy when designing the new skate shop’s signage.

But there was a time when he never thought he’d get the chance to open his own brick-and-mortar shop. In fact, he didn’t think it’d be possible for quite some time, but it was there, the idea bookmarked in his mind.

“I feel like that’s what you're supposed to do as a skater, when you get older and still really, really love it: You want to keep skating, and you also want to give back somehow.”



“We came from just working jobs to put change in the car, and we ran out of gas every week. Working jobs we weren’t sure would work out. Somehow we ended up doing everything we can dream of,” said Sarah Morse, Tyler’s partner and owner of Eau Claire Pet Care. “I never thought I’d be a business owner, either. So for us to be able to have this, to see Ty accomplish something he’s dreamed of since he was a kid, it’s so fun.”

Morse remembers pulling off his first skate trick, even his first kickflip – something he described as euphoric, laughing as he recalled the beginner trick happening outside of Menomonie’s United Methodist Church – back when there wasn’t much community support for skaters. That’s changed, and Eau Claire now has the newly opened 5,000-square-foot Boyd Skate Park.

“Every time I got out (to Boyd Skate Park), I still take a picture. It’s almost like everything you’ve ever hoped for here,” Morse said, smiling. “I still get to the top of those ramps and go to drop in, and I’m like, ‘This is really here.’”

Morse is also a member of the Eau Claire Skaters Association, a 501(c)3 nonprofit started by another longtime skater and community leader, Gabe Brummett. Morse said he hopes El Camino Skate Shop will become a hub and hangout for locals, but also for the organization, as they continue to work on local efforts. “I feel like that’s what you’re supposed to do as a skater, when you age and still really, really love it: You want to keep skating, and you also want to give back somehow,” Morse said.

El Camino Skate Shop is a physical manifestation of that desire to give back. The shop (1901 Brackett Ave., No. 1) is outfitted with skater necessities: decks, trucks, wheels, bearings, hardware, and grip tape. Then, additional fun stuff: skate culture magazines, stickers, merch, and a hangout area with a couch and video game setup.

As for its namesake, that comes from Morse’s mode of transportation besides skating: his Chevrolet El Camino. The classic vehicle was last made by Chevy in 1987, and Morse had originally hoped to run a sort of pop-up skate shop from it. Now with a brick-and-mortar store, he’ll likely pick up that idea again in the future, taking product with him to places like his hometown, Menomonie.

El Camino currently houses cruisers and shaped skateboards – no longboards yet, though he could if people want ’em – and boards for younger skaters, too.

“I think a lot of people who end up skateboarding, it comes at a time in life where it feels like it was a necessity. I had a lot of things going on at home that I would have rather just not been around growing up, and skating not only got me out of the house, but I was with friends,” Morse said. “You can’t think of anything else when you’re skateboarding – you’ll fall – and it’s nice to kind of zone out the rest of the world. You have to be present. I think a lot of skaters want to spread that experience.”

People have already been checking out the shop and hanging out, though El Camino’s grand opening will be Saturday, Feb. 17, which happens to be Skate Shop Day. El Camino will be open Thursday to Sunday from 11am-7pm to start, with other local skaters working the shop, and hours could expand in the future.

Eau Claire currently has only one other dedicated skateboard shop (other recreation-focused stores stock skateboards, but they aren’t purely skate shops), Passion Board (218 N. Dewey St.), but as the skating scene continues to grow in the community, there’s certainly a call for more. “I feel like the more the merrier, and I’m so stoked about it,” Morse said.

Keep up with El Camino Skate Shop on Instagram (@elcaminoskateshop).