Best Skate Shop - 1999
Inline skates and skateboards are sidelines at surf and ski shops, but Super Skates specifically targets wheeled warriors. This specialized approach gives each store the atmosphere of a boutique. The shop on Fort Lauderdale beach is wide open to the salty breeze and outfitted with a smattering of clothing racks and rows of metal skate mounts. Skateboards and oversize T-shirts hang around one corner, bearing busty comic-book blondes and sinister skulls. The comprehensive selection of inline skates includes K2, Roces, and Salomon as well as the ubiquitous Rollerblade, at prices ranging from a child's $79.99 X-tenblade to a stuntman's $249.99 El Oro. "The word on the street -- a lot of people have them -- is Salomon," advises 13-year-old Neal McClure. In just seconds, he has slipped out of his skate-rat slouch and into smooth salesmanship. "It's a win-win situation. The flat sole goes a lot faster, and it's superior in comfort." Too young to be on the payroll, McClure helps out for free shirts, discounted gear, and social opportunities. "I make new friends every day," says McClure. "This place is so great, I'd work here for free."