An Entrepreneur at 14
Grand Island native Brant Van Boening bought SILO Skateboards and Footwear when he was 14 years old.
He’s skated since he was eight and always had an interest in the marketplace. He dreamt up brands and played store in his parent’s basement as a kid. When Brant was 14, the owner of the local skateboard shop was closing it to spend more time with his family. With his parent’s support, Brant bought the store in 1993.
SILO has been in the 1880 Bartenbach building for 14 years. Weekday customers come from around the state; weekends bring people from Kansas, Colorado, and Illinois. “We sell online and ship all over the US, and in special circumstances to every corner of the earth. It’s really cool to send one box to Japan, another to Brazil, and another to Norway all in the same day,” Brant said.
One of the things I’m proud of is that our local skateboarders are so friendly.
Grand Island’s Skate Park (located in Pier Park) is one of the best layouts in the state. It can handle more skaters than others and offers a large beginners section. “One of the things I’m proud of is that our local skateboarders are so friendly. If you come and visit from out of town or state, you will be welcomed with open arms. We enjoy the company and love to meet new people.” According to Brant, Grand Island Parks and Recreation does a fantastic job funding and maintaining the park. SILO encourages kids to help out by picking up trash — to respect what they have — and has at times offered incentives to kids who lend a helping hand to keep the park clean.
Brant has found that the most consistent and passionate skateboarders are some of the most grounded and well-rounded young people he knows. “Skateboarding is about overcoming obstacles, perseverance, attitude, a little bit of pain, and triumph. While at its heart it is a little rebellious, we most often find that a lot of the kids that skateboard are being saved by skateboarding. It keeps them out of trouble and gives them something to focus on.
We want to be a destination spot and supporting small business and sole proprietorships is very important to us.”
“My wife and I very much enjoy the friendships we have made in Grand Island; the people are our favorite thing about the city,” Brant says about his hometown. “But we also love hanging out at The Chocolate Bar downtown — best coffee in the state! — and other local, one-of-a-kind establishments such as Sin City Bar & Grill, Wave Pizza Company offer good food and atmosphere. It’s always worth the trip!”
Grand Island Characters
SILO on Locust
201 N Locust St