Skateshop (Rhode Island)

‘I like to think that all New England is a big family just residing in different states.’

Guido Silvestri

March 2024

Can you tell us something about Rhode Island no one knows?
The “Spork” was invented in Rhode Island in 1874. (laughing)

We Are Civil is the skate shop in RI. How did it all start?
It started when myself and my friend Rob Asselin wanted to start a shop with a different vibe/setup than anyone had done in the area.

Any deep meaning behind the name?
Basically we called it Civil because that’s who we are. We wanted to cater and be “Civil” to all.

On your website it says that ‘the two founders imagined a store concept outside the realm of the traditional skate/snowboard/surf shop.’ What is different with We Are Civil?
It was really a mix between a boutique and a store with good inventory – typically its one or the other. Mixing in artwork/music and more.

Some skate shops are struggling to keep alive, but you have a total of three in the same state. How do you keep up?
Definitely has been some tougher times – but we have been really fortunate to push through those tough times – great employees, supporters, and always striving to be and do better have kept us alive.

Nolan McCaffrey • Ollie one foot • Kingston, RI   © Karim Ghonem

What prompted you to sell your own shop boards/collection?
I think it’s really important for the shop to build their own identity and offer that to people. A lot goes into what we put out for graphics and projects – It’s a nice glimpse of who we are.

Can you tell us something about yourself?
My real name is Guido. Most think it’s my nickname. My father and much of my family are from Italy hence the name.

How is the local skateboard community seen from other parts of the East Coast?
I’m not sure honestly – but I feel like in the New England area its always hard with the winters – I like to think that all new England is a big family just residing in different states.

Are there any local brands that deserve a shout out?
Swan Common, Deforestation, All I Need.

What are some of your local underground heroes?
Justin Soullierre, Jay Poirier, Bill Gray, Donny, all the RI skaters honestly, they all deserve credit.

‘I think it’s really important for the shop to build their own identity and offer that to people.’

Justin Healey • FS wallride • Providence, RI   © Karim Ghonem

What are the most popular skatespots in RI (parks, DIY, street)?
Trinity Skatepark in Providence, OMF Park in Wakefield, White Rock in Westerly, Bridgham School, Granny banks, Bank to ledge.

What are some of the challenges skateboarding in RI faces today?
Winters are tough with no indoor spots.

Last question. If you could interview a person, who would it be and why?
I don’t have any one person in mid but someone outside the box of my daily life I think. Someone to give a new perspective.