Trio to open skate shop as boro plans new park

Co-owner involved

By jennifer dome
Staff Writer

Co-owner involved

FARRAH MAFFAI Troy Jankowski, Steve Lenardo and Chris Nieratko (l-r) are the owners of NJ Skateshop, a new store for skateboarders on Washington Road in Sayreville.FARRAH MAFFAI Troy Jankowski, Steve Lenardo and Chris Nieratko (l-r) are the owners of NJ Skateshop, a new store for skateboarders on Washington Road in Sayreville.

with ‘Big Brother’ mag.,

‘Jackass’ TV show

By jennifer dome

Staff Writer

SAYREVILLE — Three men born and bred in the borough are hoping to make a name for their home state in the world of skateboarding.

With Sayreville’s opening of a municipal skate park in Kennedy Park off Washington Road, longtime skateboarders Troy Jankowski, Chris Nieratko and Steve Lenardo decided to open a skate shop just down the road.

"We’re all skaters at heart, so we understand what the 12- or 14-year-old needs," said Nieratko, who is 27.

"We’re still active skateboarders, so we’re more knowledgeable than the average businessman," added Jankowski, 29.

NJ Skateshop, located at 389 Washington Road, is equipped with dozens of skateboards, backpacks, novelty items and even a Skee-Ball machine. Not only will the store carry safety equipment and tools to make skateboard repairs when it opens next week, but skating apparel and shoes made by companies such as Habitat, Black Label, Krooked, Flip, DVS, Emerica and Ipath will be available.

According to Nieratko, NJ Skateshop will be one of only two stores in the state to sell Nike skating shoes, particularly the limited edition "Dunks."

While the skateboard equipment and many other items for sale in the shop are unisex, Jankowski said they plan to sell some clothes geared specifically for girls and women. He added that many things not found at the store itself can be ordered through catalogs that the store will keep on hand.

The store’s own shirts and some other items can also be purchased online at

"We hope to be New Jersey’s premiere skateboard shop, eventually," Jankowski said.

The store’s opening date, July 15, will be followed by a grand opening weekend sale from July 18-20.

Jankowski is a member of the borough’s subcommittee that helped pick the design for the future skate park. He said the new, concrete skate park will not only be permanent, unlike those made of wood or metal, but it will be state-of-the-art.

Jankowski, Nieratko and Lenardo are extremely enthusiastic about the opening of the skate park, since it will give children a safe place to skate.

When the store owners were young, they skated wherever they could, such as in parking lots or in the street, and they were often asked to leave whatever property they used, they said. Since the former skate park near borough hall was worn down, there weren’t many options for skaters.

"The police in Sayreville have al­ways been really good to us and under­standing," Nieratko said.

Jankowski noted that it was Sayreville police officer Rich Belotti, in fact, who got him involved with the skate park committee.

Lenardo, a school teacher in Jersey City, said he is excited about the skate park’s opening, and is happy to open a store that will cater to those who love to skate, just as he did when he was young and still does to this day.

"I just wanted to give back to some­thing I feel is important and shaped me into who I am," Lenardo said.

The store will sponsor a demonstra­tion at the skate park when it opens later this summer. The owners said they want to bring in professional skaters who are part of the NJ Skateshop team, as well as skaters from the Consolidated and Emerica company teams.

It was partly Nieratko’s involvement in the skating community worldwide that prompted the three to open the store.

As the managing editor of Big Brother Skateboarding magazine, Nieratko has been placing advertise­ments in the magazine for the past six months about the store, even though it isn’t open yet.

Nieratko said he would like more children to take pride in New Jersey, since it sometimes gets a bad rap.

After living for some time in California, this was also a reason why he wanted to open NJ Skateshop, he said, to offer re­gional skateboarders a worthwhile place to shop.

While working with Big Brother magazine, Nieratko became involved with the popular MTV comedy-stunt show Jackass as both a writer and occa­sional participant in the show’s antics. Nieratko said it was the show’s main star, Johnny Knoxville, who approached the magazine about the videos it was making.

"We were always doing the Jackass stuff before Jackass [aired]," Nieratko said.

In one of the show’s episodes, Nieratko is featured in a salute to the movie Cool Hand Luke, which features cast members trying to eat 50 eggs in one hour. Nieratko ate 48 eggs during the challenge while wearing a "Sayreville Seafood" T-shirt — an ode to the seafood store that is now located across the street from NJ Skateshop.

Nieratko said that while he continues to work with Big Brother magazine, and will still work at NJ Skateshop with Jankowski and Lenardo, he is pursuing a movie deal with his Fresh Kills Entertainment partner, Ryan Monihan. In the next week, Nieratko said he hopes to get financing for NC-17, a movie he wrote about a year ago.

"It’s a high school romance gone completely wrong," Nieratko said of the movie, which he categorized as a dark comedy.

He said appearances by Johnny Knoxville, professional skateboarder Tony Hawk and Macaulay Culkin’s brother, Rory, have been discussed.

The movie will likely be filmed in Canada, he said.

Nieratko said he would have pre­ferred to shoot the movie in New Jersey but the costs were too high.

"This past year I’ve been around the globe, and as much as I’ve enjoyed vis­iting those places, it always made me appreciate the values of this area of New Jersey," Nieratko said.

"If I had the choice of anywhere to live in the world, it would be New Jersey," he said.

As a self-proclaimed die-hard Nets basketball fan, Nieratko said he may find himself locked in the basement this summer to mourn the possible loss of Jason Kidd as a Net.

"The one thing that could break my heart is if Jason Kidd would leave the state," Nieratko said.