Alumni-owned skate shop opens near campus

Sarah King
Staff Writer

“Common Threads enriches the social fabric and environment of riders worldwide. Help us be an agent of social change in the world,” is the mission statement of the independent store Common Threads that opened Saturday, Nov. 23 next to Panera Bread at 810 W. Grace St.

Common Threads is owned by VCU alumni Daniel Burch and Brian Noon, who graduated in 1999. The idea for their company began on Earth Day in the VCU Commons on April 20, 2011 as the two business partners advertised flip-flops made from tires and inner tubes.

“The store came about because in addition to this brand we found a whole lot of brands nobody had ever heard of, but if you have heard of them you really like them, and companies most people align with socially and environmentally,” Burch said.

“It started with a flip-flop company called Tribu from the Philippines and they sold about 6 million there so we started to import them and we started to get really good traction around people liking the flip-flop,” Burch said.

The company then added Tribu Collegiate which sports University logos on the flip-flops, and the venture grew from there.  The store carries brands such as Tribu, Tribu Collegiate, Kurv, Unreel, Poler Stuff, Green Guru, Jimmy’z, Vision Street Wear, Nectar Sunglasses, Coal Headwear, Capita Snowboarding, and Panda Sunglasses.

“These companies are just trying to do the right thing, so that combination of emerging brands is the common thread,” Burch said.

Burch’s father owned a dry-cleaning business on Grace street when he was in his youth, which inspired Burch to open his own business on Grace.

The store is primarily a skate shop with related retail goods and clothing. Burch said the Richmond community is a great market for his store’s themes and is very accepting of the idea of emerging brands.

“So far, we’ve been received really well by the VCU and Richmond community,” said Chris Burke, a 2007 VCU alumnus who manages the store. “It’s a great location for a skate shop,” he added.

The store sells skateboards, flip-flops, a variety of male and female skate and snowboard-related apparel brands, bracelets and jewelry, and stickers.  Prices range from a few dollars to close to a hundred for some clothing brands.

Owners Burch and Noon signed their lease to the building on Sep. 1. A Verizon Wireless store occupied the space before Common Threads. The new business is open 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily.

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