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Safety Harbor Skateshop Closes As Skatepark Reopens

The 801 Skateshop on Main Street in Safety Harbor is closing its doors.
The 801 Skateshop on Main Street in Safety Harbor is closing its doors after one year in business.

The Ian Tilmann Skatepark in Safety Harbor reopened to much fanfare recently after it received a massive makeover that included replacing all the old wooden equipment and installing brand new, cement based features.

But while the City was celebrating the reopening of the park on Saturday, May 16, the owner of the only skateshop in town was busy trying to burn off his inventory of boards, tee shirts and other skating gear prior to closing his doors.

Zak Franklin said the reopening of the park came about two weeks too late for him to remain in business, so he decided to close his 801 Skateshop a year after he opened.

“The City of Safety Harbor closing the skatepark over spring break singlehandedly closed 801 Skateshop,” Franklin recently told Safety Harbor Connect.

“Whoever made that decision directly affected us. They said it would be open by spring break.”

When contacted, City officials said a delay on the part of the park builder led to the delay in the park’s opening.

The Ian Tilmann Skatepark.
The Ian Tilmann Skatepark recently reopened in Safety Harbor.

“We had a goal to have it re-opened by spring break and the grand opening in May,” Leisure Services Director Andrea Norwood wrote Safety Harbor Connect.com.

“However, early on in the process (January to be exact) we found out the construction crew was delayed a week on a project in Texas because of weather. Therefore, we knew we would not make the spring break deadline by a week.”

“We actually opened the park back up to users (soft opening) with the new procedures (no user fees) on April 11, the weekend after spring break.”

Unfortunately for Franklin, that proved to be too late.

He explained that like many businesses, his relied on a couple of busy times during the year to produce much of the revenue.

Spring break was one of those times, and he said he was especially looking forward to this year’s school vacation, as the reopening of the skatepark was sure to attract a large number of skaters to town; when it didn’t open, he made the decision to close up shop.

801 Skateshop opened in April 2014.
801 Skateshop opened in April 2014.

“We did great over Christmas break. But when you take away a whole season, it kills business,” Franklin said. “When people heard the park wasn’t opened, they went to Dunedin or Tampa or Lakeland or Largo.”

“It might’ve been different if we’d been open 10 years, maybe we could’ve survived it. But even at established shops I’ve worked at, we relied on the busy seasons to carry us. For the amount of money you pay for rent here, you have to be busy all the time.”

Franklin said right now he’s not sure what his next step would be.

But he said his regular customers aren’t happy that his shop is closing.

“I don’t know what’s going to materialize,” he said. “But there’s been an overwhelming display of sadness from our customers that we’re closing.”



  1. The city should have hired local contractors to repair this skate park. We have the highest unemployment in the trades, and there are many people around here who could really use the work! Why use out of state firms? Shame on the city and whoever made this decision. It always affects people, and now unfortunately, a business has closed because of the bottom line and out of state contractors. Perhaps the City of Safety Harbor needs to remember their own words “BUY LOCAL”

  2. if teh city had hired local contractors to keep city funds serving the community, there most likely would not have been delays.

    Why was this city contract let to a non local firm??

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