PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Hard Times Skate Shop is facing a hard time.
The day after Christmas, owner Tony Herndon returned to his shop on Afton Parkway to work a few hours. When he entered, water was pouring from the ceiling.
They posted video of it to their Instagram page.
The cold temperatures over the holidays caused freezing pipes in the empty apartment above the store to burst.
Herndon told 10 On Your Side that most of this inventory is OK. However, the cash register, card machine and a backup laptop must be replaced.
Since then, he and his skate buddies have put in some elbow grease to help clean it up.
“We had to vacuum and soak up all the water,” Herndon said. “Vent dry the space, clean, deodorize, use mildew remover and give it a fresh coat of paint. We did a lot of work in this last week. I’m just very grateful to have good friends and a good support system.”
The Portsmouth native is very active in the community.
Herndon and a group of business owners worked together to feed kids during the pandemic. In 2021, he successfully petitioned to save the city skate park on George Washington Highway, not far from his shop.
“Everybody in life endures hard times,” Herndon said. “To get to the good times you have to experience hard times. So we’re going through our hard time to just get back to grow stronger next time.”Hard Times Skate Shop owner Tony Herndon
Last summer, he hosted a free skate camp for kids in partnership with the city parks and recreation. He also hosted a Juneteenth skate day event.
“I’m very active in the community,” Herndon said. “It’s a social responsibility. It’s your civic duty, if you want to improve things around you. You have to be a part of the catalyst and not just talk about it.”
The Norfolk State University graduate is one of the few Black-owned skate businesses in the country. He is optimistic and believes in the motto, “hard times don’t last,” which is why he named his business Hard Times.
“Everybody in life endures hard times,” Herndon said. “To get to the good times you have to experience hard times. So we’re going through our hard time to just get back to grow stronger next time.”
Herndon said he did not have insurance. He was in the process of getting another renter’s insurance policy following several shootings in the area and vandalism to the front window.
“I can’t afford it to be closed for an extended period of time,” Herndon said.
He created a GoFundMe to help out with the recent expenses.
“I have big things in store for 2023 and this is a small bump in the road,” Herndon said. “We can’t stop the momentum here.”
He says any help is welcome, so he can get back to helping others.
“Just keep believing in us,” Herndon said. “We’re not going anywhere. It’s not over, it’s just beginning. I believe in it and what’s going to happen is going to be amazing from this point up.”
To donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/hard-times-for-hard-times.