Downtown Longview's newest business, Ollie's Skate Shop, opened this weekend in a push driven by a new addition to the city's parks system — the new Dodson Action Sports Complex at Ingram Park.
The new park facility gives people a place to ride skateboards, bikes, scooters, rollerblades and more — and created a new market in Longview, according to Zahckry Israel. He and his business partner Chad Nevils created the "Ollie" namesake character for the business because it's a play on words.
"It's a skateboard trick," Israel said, that involves hopping on the skateboard. "It's what most people start with."
Israel owns a local cabinet shop and has been involved in helping build the new skatepark with the tools from his business. He's a BMX rider, but helping build the skatepark made him realize how many skateboarders there are — skateboarders who he said until now had no local shop for professional-grade skateboarding equipment.
The idea for the business developed about two months ago.
"We created the skate shop brand and company," Israel said. "There's not one and there's fixin' to be a need for one."
Ollie's Skate Shop is at 105 W. Tyler St., next door to Deb's Downtown Cafe.
"We wanted to be there (in downtown Longview)," Israel said. "There wasn't really anywhere else that made sense."
At some point, Israel might start using his custom wood shop to make custom skateboarding equipment, but for now the store is stocked with merchandise.
"Everything in our store is professional grade," Israel said. "It's where you would go if you were serious about the sport.... It's all pro-level stuff."
The store also carries two lines of disc golf frisbees, considering the popularity of disc golf in Longview's parks, Israel said.
Ollie's Skate Shop is open 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday and closed Monday.
On the move
Israel also is relocating his original business close to downtown.
His Longview Cabinets has been in business about five years on Rothrock Drive. He renovated the location at 319 E. Cotton St., next door to Johnny's Custom Hatters, for his custom wood shop that builds cabinetry in contract work for other builders.
"I'll be riding a skateboard back and forth," between the two businesses, Israel said.
The nonprofit Longview Child Development Center continues to grow after re-opening in September.
The child care facility at 1230 S. High St., which had closed for six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic, serves income eligible families. It re-opened with seven children. Now, new Executive Director Mandy Key said 25 children are enrolled, with plans to open back up for after-school care at the start of the New Year.
The facility accepts ages 12 months to 4 years for full-day care, she said. After school care will be available for children ages 3-6 starting Jan. 7.
Applications for child care enrollment are available at the center, which will be open Monday, Tuesday and Wednedsay until 2:30 p.m. before closing for the Thanksgiving holiday. For information, call (903) 758-3861 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
New Kilgore restaurant
Raelene Wheeler and her business partner, Cathy Northcutt, opened Boonies a little more than a week ago in downtown Kilgore, serving coffee, breakfast and lunch — compete with a big salad bar.
"I've always wanted a restaurant my whole life," Wheeler said, adding that her mother, Kim Puckett, now deceased, operated The Spud Pit in downtown Gilmer for a number of years. She's known Northcutt for years, and they had been discussing a restaurant together for quite some time.
Located at 107 N. Kilgore St., diners will find a large coffee bar with an espresso machine and a selection of flavors served all day, a breakfast menu that includes bagels and french toast, a lunch menu with burgers, chicken, the salad bar, specials and more.
The restaurant is open seven days a week, from 6:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. for food and until 4:30 p.m. for coffee.
"We've gotten quite a lot of good feedback," Wheeler said