Hockey skate maintenance isn’t something most of us, if we’re being honest, put much thought into. We usually just give our skates to the rink pro shop or hockey store and say “shapen them, please”. Then the employee puts them on a Sparx and hits a button. In an increasingly rare case, you’ll find a hand sharpening system still. The folks that sharpen by hand (myself included) see skate maintenance as a skill that is being increasingly hard to find. This is where Steve and Sharp Shack come in. Steve has created Sharp Shack to be a thriving, caring, service based skate business in a growing automated skate maintenance world.
How it started
Steve got his start in skate sharpening by having a curiosity about it. He wanted to learn the skill, and decided several years ago, after being laid off from his job at a car dealership, that there was no better time than the present. So he bought a used Wissota for $500 on Facebook Marketplace and started learning.
He learned through trial and error how to sharpen skates. Steve took his time and got good at that craft. He built up his business doing nights and weekends from his house and steadily built up a brand. His brand grew and so did his skills because he was dedicated to the craft and really cared if people were on good edges.
Steve and Sharp Shack quickly realized there was more to skates than just steel. He started making custom shot blockers. He would make them in his house and also started making them for folks all over the US. Steve and Sharp Shack continued to grow! Through his custom shot blockers, he got connected with the guys from Wrap Around and helped them with their products. He continued to build his products and connections.
The Sharp Shack was quickly gaining a reputation for their quality and other requests were coming in. One such request Steve got was to convert skates from ice to rollers. Using that same care, and trial and error process he was able to learn how to do that. Steve is now known as one of the best in the US and is a preferred Mars Blade installer. He has clients for his skate conversions all over the US and Canada and at all levels and leagues.
Now with all these connections all over the US and Massachussettes, Steve thought of expanding in a different way. He started the Sharp Shack Inline Hockey League over Covid as a way to keep guys playing hockey outside. As Covid restrictions eased, they were able to keep the league going and move inside to a roller hockey rink. The league is going strong and has six teams.
The future is bright for Steve’s business. He just recently moved into a retail location. He now has more and more customers for sharpening and services not only individuals, but also schools, teams, pros, and in-person customers who need quality service for their skates. He has been growing steadily in this area of his business every year.
In addition to the skate side of things, his roller hockey conversions have been taking off too. He helps service some of the top names in roller like John Schiavo and other pros are taking notice. Being one of the few certified Mars Blade installers is a huge thing too, and helps add credibility.
Steve also loves the inline hockey league he has created too and wants to grow that. He currently has a very competitive 6 team league but sees it expanding in the next few seasons.
Skate maintenance isn’t something most of us put a lot of thought into. However, for Steve and his curiosity for skate sharpening, he has found a way to take his time and care for it and turn it into a great business in a growing automated sharpening world.