Modest Skateboards & Apparel opened in December last year at 7416 Madison St. and has quickly become a haunt for Forest Park teens. Previously located in Berwyn, since 2005, the shop has plans to begin art classes, partner with local charities, sell an original clothing line and maybe even sponsor skateboards in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, March 10.
As well as selling skating gear, clothing and related accessories, Modest also serves as an art gallery, with works incorporating painting, photography, and other media mounted on the walls next to a high definition TV.
The store sells art supplies, including an entire case of spray paints and extra-wide Sharpie permanent markers.
Because of the threat of vandalism, several cities including Chicago, Berwyn, Cicero, and Grayslake banned the sale of spray paint and large-tip permanent markers to minors; however, Forest Park has no such laws, and co-owner John Reith does not believe that the paint sold by Modest is connected to graffiti. Referring to the canvases displayed in the store, he said, “Nine out of every ten of them, if not all of them, have spray paint incorporated into the work. Spray paint is a legitimate medium to use within very legal and permissible artwork.” Modest only sells to customers over age 18.
Down the street, Paulson’s Paint also sells spray paint. “You need to be eighteen to buy spray paint in Chicago, but I don’t know of any restrictions in Forest Park,” said employee Rick Stephanie.
Spray paint may be used as a medium when the owners of Modest organize art classes in their shop later this year. Details are still being discussed, but the goal is to provide underprivileged children in the area with classes for some medium of art, whether in murals, drawing, photography, or another format.
The shop provides a friendly environment in which middle school-aged youth are commonly present. The owners plan to work with local charities in the near future. Among these are Opportunity Knocks, an organization started in Oak Park to provide assistance to people with developmental disabilities.
Modest sells t-shirts, outerwear, and other clothing items. Small brands in general are emphasized, but the store specializes in the Modest clothing line created by co-owner Matt Ward. The shop will also begin selling shoes in the near future.
“We’re just establishing the storage space so we can stock them,” says Reith. “We’re going to be bringing in shoes brand by brand until we’re flooded with them.”
The owners hope to take part in the Forest Park St. Patrick’s Day Parade, possibly even coordinating a group skating in the parade if they can generate enough interest.
“We’ll be involved in the day,” states Reith. “The only thing in question is the parade itself, but we’ll definitely have events going on during the day in the shop.”
Beginning in the spring and summer, Modest is expected to participate in events at nearby skate parks in both Forest Park and Oak Park.
The shop currently relies on Facebook and social networking for promotion and sharing information, but the owners say they are excited about a website they’re developing. They will shoot a new promotional video soon, and after finishing the website they will begin establishing an online store.
This story has been corrected to clarify that Modest does not sell spray paint to minors.