Shop opens a new place to skate in Yakima | Local

As skateboarding store AVE celebrated its first anniversary earlier this month, it was hard to miss the company’s newest attribute Yakima.

A large skate ramp has been built in the south parking lot, giving Yakima Valley skaters of all ages and abilities another option to test their skills, socialize and try out new gear, owner John Erickson said.

“We’re here first and foremost to support the skate community,” Erickson told the Yakima Herald-Republic. “It provides a safe zone for the kids, and I’ve seen their parents join them before.”

Erickson opened AVE — which stands for Apple Valley Emporium — in 2021 to provide “a community-focused organic skateboard and wine store in the heart of Yakima,” AVE’s website says.

The store offers skateboards, apparel, zines, and “minimal intervention wine” for sale. The latter are influenced by Erickson’s fiancée, Jessica DellaTorre, who works in the wine industry. Andy Pitts also helped found the company.

“Organic wine, in terms of Yakima, is still a very new thing,” he said. “Wine and hops provide so many jobs in the Yakima Valley, so we felt it was appropriate to bring that aspect of our economy here.”

Erickson is from Yakima and worked at a much smaller skate shop his last high school years here, which has since “collapsed”.

Skateboarding’s popularity and acceptance has grown significantly since his youth, Erickson said, as it is now an Olympic sport, and many winter Olympian snowboarders are also accomplished skateboarders.

Since the parking lot ramp opened Aug. 1, Erickson said he’s been thrilled to see parents and their kids enjoying it.

“So far it has been a huge success,” he added. “We’ve had 10-year-olds to people over 50.”

The skate ramp is only open during AVE hours, which are 12-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday and 12-4 p.m. Sunday. There is a $5 per day fee, with a free pass accompanying any in-store purchase.

Everyone must sign a liability release form, or have a parent/guardian sign if under 18. Helmets and pads are encouraged for riders, and no alcohol, drugs or fighting is tolerated.

While free city skate parks like the one at Kiwanis Park are available, Erickson hopes the AVE and its custom ramp can be another option for Yakima Valley skaters.

“We pride ourselves on providing a safe and friendly environment for skateboarders of all ages to learn and advance their skateboarding skills and enjoy the physical, mental and social benefits the sport offers its participants,” added Erickson.

He noted that in addition to being available to skate during normal business hours, AVE also offers private skating lessons as well as rentals for private parties and events.

More information is available on the AVE website,, or by calling the store at 509-902-1097.

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