Derby Gear Hits D.C. With Department of Skate

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The Department of Skate in Chinatown is D.C.'s first roller derby store. (Credit: Kimberly Suiters/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

The Department of Skate in Chinatown is D.C.’s first roller derby store. (Credit: Kimberly Suiters/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A new store in D.C. is hoping to cash in on one of the country’s fastest growing sports.

The Department of Skate, a roller derby sporting goods store, opened Feb. 16 in Chinatown and caters to a sport that is rapidly growing, especially in the D.C. area.

“In 2009 there were a few hundred leagues. Now there are more than 1,000 around the world,” said Department of Skate co-owner Adrienne Schreiber. “D.C.’s got eight or so, and that’s just leagues alone. The sport is taking off, which means it brings around junior leagues, men’s leagues … everyone wants in on it because it’s awesome.”

Schreiber and fellow co-owner Yvonne Dailey are no strangers to the sport. They skate for team Scare Force One, a member of the D.C. Roller Girls league, which formed in 2006.

The women have their own official derby nicknames — Schreiber goes by ‘Velocity Raptor’ when she’s on the track; Dailey uses ‘Helena Handbag’ — which they said is a roller derby rite of passage.

PHOTOS: Department of Skate Opens in Downtown D.C.

“Nicknames are important,” Schreiber said. “We’ve got good ones in D.C. — Condaleeza Slice, Nasty Pelosi, Stabagail Adams … “

“Martha Squashington, Marion Barracuda — that’s one of my favorites,” Dailey continued. “It’s kind of your alter ego.”

The skaters turned business owners said there is a lack of derby equipment stores in the D.C. area, a problem they’ve experienced first hand.

“One of our teammates was stopping by a bike shop in Frederick and she asked, ‘Does anybody want stuff?’ And suddenly there were 97 things to buy. So we said, ‘Let’s do this,'” Schreiber said.

Department of Skate, which is the District’s only store that caters specifically to roller derby, sells everything from skates, pads, helmets, and boots to plates, wheels, and parts to fix skates.

“We sell everything,” Dailey said.

They’re hoping the sport’s rising popularity — the number of roller derby leagues has quadrupled worldwide in the last four years — can turn the store into a full-time operation.

Schreiber and Dailey swear by the sport that they said has changed their lives.

“It’s a competitive sport that requires skill and strategy. It’s also camaraderie and group of people you wouldn’t otherwise meet,” Schreiber said.

Both women said the sport is an addiction, but the good kind.

“It’s a magical formula for, ‘Oh my God, I can’t live without this,” Dailey said.

WNEW’s Kimberly Suiters contributed to this report. Follow her on Twitter.

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