Keep it Civil

An East Greenwich haven for skaters expands into Providence


Opposites often attract. Think peanut butter and jelly; Popeye and Olive Oyl; yours truly and... every man I have ever dated. Seriously. An adrenaline junkie I am not, yet somehow I always seem to attract the thrill seekers. They ride motorcycles, they race cars, they jump out of planes into mountains of snow. Oh, and they want to drag me along for the ride. Let’s face it: I’d rather park it on the couch, book in hand.

The one tricked-out sport I could ever get down with is skateboarding, probably because I was never expected to hop on the back of the board. I was excited to check out Civil, the newly opened skate apparel and supply store downtown (where the old OneWay Gallery used to be). Co-owners Rob Asselin and Guideo Silvestri experienced so much success at their East Greenwich store that they decided to expand the business to include this second location. I must say, the space is minimalistic-chic, and it fits in seamlessly with its artsy Westminster Street neighbors.

“On a business and a personal level, the Providence store just made sense,” Rob says. “There’s always been a local skate shop here in the city since we were kids and it was important to keep that alive. Kids have been taking the bus down to EG – a lot of college kids don’t have a car.” Rob and Guido began scouting locations in the spring and settled on this spot in June. “And then came the lease negotiation,” he says with a laugh.

While he jokingly claims to be in “old man skater mode” these days, Rob has been riding since the age of four. Clearly, he has a true passion for the sport. Also, he might have OCD. Everything in the store is meticulously arranged, boutique-style, with none of that frustrating mall store mess. From skate decks to grip tape to wheels, bearings, shock pads and bolts, the equipment’s all here. And the service is friendly.

While some stores stock only the mainstream brands, Civil goes beyond, which is something diehard skaters will appreciate. Rob and Guido’s taste, aesthetically, is very good: they've stocked up on funny Antihero decks, colorful Brixon watches, tons of graphic t-shirts by Huf, The Hundreds and Plan B, as well as jackets, hoodies, wallets, headphones, sunglasses and hats.

Oh, and I can’t forget the sneaker wall; I don’t think I saw a pair I didn’t like. In fact, I even mentally styled my future ex-boyfriend: black Brixon flat brim hat, Huf denim button down, Black Levi’s 511 jeans and gray-on-gray Nike SB Dunk Mid Pros. This is definitely the place to shop for your skateboard-loving loved ones this holiday season.

Although the bulk of the goods are geared towards men, there are a few goodies available for the fairer sex too, including some adorable glittery Tom’s that I would totally rock while being dragged to the skate park. It’s only a matter of time.