Twenty-Five Years of Sky High Skateshop

06.26.13 – Templeton Elliott

Sky High Skateshop in Milwaukee, WI is celebrating twenty-five years in business with a skate jam and block party on July 6. Click through for the details and a brief history of Sky High starting in 1988.

25 year skate jam poster

Join us in celebrating this milestone for independent skate shop Sky High located in Bay View on the corner of Howell and Clarence. On July 6th Clarence Street will be closed off to traffic and turned into a skatepark for the day to celebrate the shops long history in the Racine/Milwaukee area. Sky High skate jams are family friendly events that cater to generations of skateboarders, all ages and skill levels are welcome. Highlights for the 25th anniversary skate jam will include an Abstract Ramp Contest a new take on traditional skate obstacles, open to all levels. Prize money awarded with in shop credit. Shay Linkus, Chef de Cuisine at Odd Duck will be serving a locally sourced BBQ with the proceeds along with a raffle going towards fundraising efforts for skatepark projects within Milwaukee.
Independent skate shops like Sky High are becoming few and far between due to online sites and big box retailers like Zumiez that offer product but don’t participate in community. The role independent shops have played in cities around the country has been vital to the lineage of skate history and part of our celebration is to honor the generations of community Sky High has brought up within it’s “family”.
1988 George and Dimitri Dimitropoulos open Sky High on Douglas Avenue in Racine, both were still in high school. This location was the first skate only skate shop in the area.
1990 George Dimitropoulos convinces the Racine YMCA into renting out a room in the basement for an indoor skatepark during the winter months. It was a big deal, in those days the nearest skatepark was in Rockford, Ill. The Sky High skatepark runs until 1997.
1991 the shop moves from Douglas Ave to a larger space on Main Street in Racine, operated now singly by George Dimitropoulos. Current owner Aaron Polansky gets hired.1993 Sky High opens another new location at 4649 S 108 th Street in Milwaukee. The Racine location issoon shut down.
1995 Sky High holds a massive skate jam at Cass St Playground, co­hosted by professional skateboarder Al Partanen’s organization, People Uplifting People In Life (PUPIL). Over 200 people attend.
1999 George Dimitropoulos sells the skate shop to current owner Aaron Polansky.
1999­-2005 Polansky buys a trailer and fills it with wooden ramps, in effort to recreate the PUPIL jam of the past. Because of this the legendary Cass Street jams are held every month through the summer season.
2004­-05 Polansky buys a building in Bay View and moves the store to its current location of 2501 S Howell Ave. Polansky felt the neighborhood possessed the qualities of a community he wanted to be a part of. A neighborhood where business owners and residents considered each other more and were interested in making things happen. The Howell St location provides the space for block party events and Polansky moves the Cass St skate jams to Bay View.
2006 To promote local independently owned businesses, Sky High produces limited­edition skateboard decks designed by the following Bay View shops; Fashion Ninja, Solid State Tattoo, Cactus Club, Fasten Collective, RushMor Records, Luv Unlimited, Paper Boat Boutique and Hi­Fi Café. Not long after the Bay View series Sky High releases a skateboard deck dedicated to the Brew City Bruisers. The entire collection is on view at Classic Slice Pizza.
2008 The shop turns 20 and celebrates with a historical photo exhibit at Paper Boat Gallery.
2010 Polansky partners with local curator Faythe Levine and they create Sky High Gallery located in the back of the skate shop. Together they also curate the outdoor Temporary Mural Project on the building that features local artists for 3 month durations promoting positive messages for the community.

2011 Polansky partners with Classic Slice Pizza and local car club The Cheaters to host “Wheel Night” in Bay View. The bi­monthly summer event happens the second and fourth Wednesday of each month and celebrates all things with wheels.