NODdoc 2: Jeff Gaites & Kristen Howard, Uncle Funky’s Longboard Shop

Our second NODdoc goes to Jeff Gaites and Kristen Howard of New York City longboard shop Uncle Funkys.

Jeff: I have a book, I have it back behind the counter, and I wrote in there “longboard shop,” I still have it, written in the margin, and it was like, it was a note to myself – open a longboard shop.

I always said “you know we could do it but it’s crazy” and then… she was the one who said “we’ll do this.”

Kristen: [Laughing]… is that what he said? [Laughing] Yeah, no, that’s pretty, that’s accurate in many ways. It also exists because he already had created this.. foundation.

When we met and I got involved in the business, Jeff was very much, a very important part of the New York longboarding community which at that time was not very big.

Then he started the store, which was primarily an online store, and he was, he had a full time job, and he would be taking calls like really quietly at his job, like you know trying to set people up with different boards that he either had in stock, or you know they would demo the boards and then order them online…

Jeff: I basically invested in about 25 different completes… and put them up on the… I put them in whatever closet I had or up on top of the cabinets in the kitchen, which was actually like, surprisingly you know New York you don’t have a lot of storage, so you’ve got to go up, and most people don’t use the above-the-cabinets area for too much, cause it’s gross up there, but it actually, if you lay them down right you’d be surprised at how many skateboards you can store in a kitchen.

Kristen: its always a lot more obvious… to someone else that it’s possible to realize your dreams. You know? And your own dreams seem like so much more impossible, somehow? But for him it was very clear, for me. I just thought like yeah, there’s this demand for this, you have all these great relationships with all these people in the community and manufactures and skaters and event organizers…

Now we’re at a place where we look around and we’re like “ahhhh it’s so *juicy* in here,” that’s the word we use when it’s like really, like filled with stuff.

Introducing people to this idea that they can do something that is fun and dangerous and challenging and scary is really rewarding.

Jeff: This is my dream job. So everyday, from here on out that I get to do this, is kind of like, you know, it’s like, you know it’s my dream job, so this is kind of like heaven on earth?

Let’s say I was rich, I would never move to another city. I’d be here in new york. And if I was rich what would I do for a job? This is it.

It’s great, tons of fun.

Interview & Edit by Jenna Matecki
Shot & Produced by ROARK
Second Camera by Edward Choi
Color Grade by Na Thirakomen
Score by Russell Elliot & Andy Nye