Dry Bones owners finding their groove after 1st year open in Tarentum
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The first year for Dry Bones, a skateboard shop in Tarentum, has been a learning experience for husband and wife Brian Snyder and Wendy Thimons.
The couple, both 47, who describe themselves more as artists than business people, said they figured out the things unique to them — drum circles, sidewalk jams, live music and plant nights where customers can make their own terrariums — work better than things like painting that people can do in lots of places.
The skateboards move well, but the biggest sellers are the tie-dyed shirts and other garments Snyder makes in the back of the shop. The winter months early in 2019 were a “killer,” when business slowed after the holidays, but, overall, Snyder says their first year has been “awesome.” They have watched their customer base grow, had people in the shop from all over and hosted concerts that bring good crowds into the store.
“We have a lot of fun, but it’s a lot of work and a lot of stress,” Thimons said, adding, “It’s so worth it.”
They plan to celebrate their first anniversary with a community event from 2:30 to 9 p.m. Saturday at the store on East Sixth Avenue. It will include live music, street skating and food vendors. Admission is free, and all ages are welcome.
They have found the business climate in Tarentum to be good, supportive and getting better. They didn’t consider going to a mall. They wanted to be in a small-town business district.
Small towns like Tarentum need things to draw in people who normally wouldn’t be there, Snyder said. The new “Trash to Treasure” flea market is one thing that has done that.
“Why does this store have to be in Lawrenceville?” he said. “Why can’t we make Tarentum better?”
Snyder believes it’s possible to turn Tarentum around, but says it will take time.
“It just takes a few ideas and a few people willing to put those ideas into motion and the town can change,” he said.
Since opening the store, Tarentum Council chose Snyder to fill a vacancy. The seat is up for election this year, and Snyder lost in the May primary to be on the ballot in November. Snyder said he’ll remain a presence after leaving council.
“I have a loud mouth. They’ll still hear from me,” he said.
Kids are the purpose of the store, Thimons said. That’s whether they’re buying skateboards and tie-dyed T-shirts or just hanging out outside and painting, Snyder said.
Their sons, Micah, 12, and Cana, 18, help out in the store. Micah does a lot of the ordering with Cana and researches skateboards so customers get the decks and wheels they need. Cana also does pricing, skateboard assembly and keeps track of inventory and runs the store’s Instagram page.
“We’re happy that, with all the places they could hang out, they come here,” Snyder said. “We respect them and they respect us. If you don’t show a child respect, how can you expect them to show respect?”
They would advise anyone considering launching a business to follow their dream, but to be patient.
“If it’s something you believe in, throw everything you have in it. Work hard, be persistent, never give up,” Snyder said. “Be prepared for the bad days, the bad weeks and the bad months. That will make the good weeks, the good days and the good months better.”
Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected]b.com or via Twitter .