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Washington's first roller derby store debuts in Chinatown

Washington is now geared up for roller derby.

Department of Skate, a specialty store catering to the sport, made its debut this Saturday in Chinatown.

Despite having competition from bike and skate shops, Adrienne Schreiber, one of the co-founders, says this is the first sports store in the area that can satisfy the needs of derby players and aficionados.

"There are a couple of shops…that will have some of the things that we need, but nobody has the expertise of being a roller derby player involved in the sport that knows exactly what are our expectations," says Schreiber, who is also president of the DC Roller Girls league and a skater.

Located at 519 H Street NW, the 700-square-foot shop is the first in D.C. to carry a full range of derby equipment – from skates, protective gear, and mouth guards to replacement parts.

She adds the idea, which so far has cost $25,000, started when teammates needed equipment and the closest store was in Philadelphia. "So we said 'all right, that’s it. We’re going to do this.'"

As interest for the sport continues to grow in the city, Schreiber and Yvonne Dailey, her business partner, hope to fulfill not only the needs of the 78 women that make up the city’s derby league, but of a much larger number of players.

"There are recreational leagues that are popping up attached to established leagues. Junior derbies are coming up for young girls who are under 18. It’s growing and it’s not going away. And we’re going to be there for all of them."

Read more articles by Luis Velarde.

Luis Velarde writes about business, investments, real estate, and urban development. His work has appeared in the BBC World Service, Voice of America and others.
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