Originally from Lawrence, Indiana, Vaughn currently resides on the east side of Indy near where he was born and raised and, at 27 years old, he has already been skateboarding for more than 14 years.
“I started in middle school and got into it through high school, so it’s been pretty much half my life at this point,” he says. “I was always a little skate rat and didn’t want to go to school or do anything except skateboard. It’s a lot of kids’ dream to be a professional skateboarder. I just buckled down and tried to skate as much as I could.”
Several years ago, Vaughn moved to Los Angeles where he pursued structured skateboarding, and when he returned to Indiana he worked for nearly two years at RISE Skateboard Shop in Carmel as manager. Eventually, Vaughn would purchase the RISE business and rebrand it as Minus Skateshop.
“Out there in L.A. is where everything is as far as the industry goes, and skateboarding,” Vaughn says. “When I came back here is when things kind of shifted for me and I thought maybe I could be on the other side of things – to still be able to skate but be a part of skateboarding and provide somehow.”
After purchasing RISE and rebranding it as Minus Skateshop, Vaughn moved his new business to South Rangeline Road, officially opening in February of last year. Since then, he’s been pleased with the support he’s received from those in the local skateboarding scene and the community in general.
“We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback,” Vaughn says, adding that while his shop was branded in conjunction with the Minus Skateshop on East 54th Street in Indianapolis launched in 2017 by Nick Holub, his Carmel store is a separate business entity from the 54th Street store.
Vaughn says the goal when formulating his business model was to create a concept that is part boutique and part classic skate shop.
“I want to have that feel of a shop that has the staples and what you need but also carry some of the higher-end brands that are more boutique-style,” he says. “There are certain clothing brands I carry that other skate shops and the other Minus location don’t carry. Nick down on 54th is more of a classic, straight-to-the-point skate shop.”
Minus customers will find a wide variety of skateboard decks, hardware and accessories, as well as shoes and apparel. Vaughn also offers full skateboard service and repairs at the shop, as well as new skateboard builds.
“If people bring their boards in and don’t know too much about it, I kind of do an evaluation on it and see if the issue is the bearings or the wheels or if the board is just completely chipped,” he says.
Aside from a friend who occasionally fills in for Vaughn at the store when needed, Vaughn runs the shop and all service and repair duties by himself.
“Down the line, I’d possibly add some staff, but I’m not sure because I like to oversee everything,” he says. “I’m a bit of a control freak, especially when it comes to this business – it’s my baby.”
Vaughn is now seeing skateboard customers coming into the store ranging from seven years old up to those in their 50s and says this is at least in part due to the coronavirus-related shutdowns of sporting events and other means of physical activity.
“People are picking up skateboarding more now than ever with everything going on,” he says. “Since there aren’t a lot of organized sports or anything going on, people are picking up extracurricular activities. Before everything that’s been going on with the shutdowns, business had been pretty consistent, but after March and April it was like the floodgates were opened. We’re really starting to see a spike in income for the business.”
As he continues to grow the Minus brand around the area, Vaughn says his greatest assets for the store are his knowledge of skateboarding culture and his desire to serve the local community.
“This has always been a passion of mine, and I’ve always wanted to be involved in the community,” he says. “Between the brands that I carry, and what I’m trying to do for the community here in Carmel and the surrounding locations all the way down to Indy, I’m just trying to bring something different to the table as far as what we have in the shop and what I can do to help the scene, the kids, the parents and everybody.”
Minus Skateshop is located at 622 South Rangeline Road, Suite F in Carmel. For more information, call 317-843-9980 and visit minuscarmel.com.