QC Made: 1986 Sports Supply

QC Made: 1986 Sports Supply

Owner, 1986 Sports Supply

Quad Citizen Profile

By day, Sean Farley is an application analyst, and in the hours that remain, he pursues his entrepreneurial passion – one that began at the age of 13 at the skate park.

Sean Farley is the owner of 1986 Sports Supply, where he sells custom skateboards and graphic apparel. With a background in web development and graphic design, Sean also designs the skateboards, drawing inspiration from the formative years of his youth – the early-1980s to the mid-1990s.

“I’ve been skateboarding since I was 13, and I’ve always had the dream to have my own store,” Farley says, noting that there was a time in college when he considered moving to Florida to open a store. As an art enthusiast, he says “I like being able to express myself in an art format, and even as a developer, I found myself continuously drawn to design.”

A Quad Cities native who attended Central High School, followed by Scott Community College and Iowa State, Farley spent a year in Des Moines before returning to his hometown for a job opportunity. It was shortly thereafter that he received a call from Renaissance Rock Island about a new incubator program and an invitation to open up a storefront.  

With $1,000 saved, Farley opened his first brick and mortar store under the name Switch Stance Skate Shop; four years later the store is still in business, rebranded as 1986 Sports Supply as a nod to his sources of inspiration.

“The Quad Cities community means a lot to me,” says Farley. “Being a native and a person of color, I can go into schools on career days and talk about what I do. Kids look at me and see ‘hey, he looks like me, he grew up just down the street from me, and he’s doing all this cool stuff.’ It’s inspiring to know that I can show them that they can do whatever they want. That’s what really matters to me.”

He sees the changes the Quad Cities is undergoing, and even as he experiences success with this store, he also references his dream to bring a skate park to Rock Island so more kids can skate.

“Getting support from local skateboarders and drawing inspiration from the town has been monumental,” Farley says.

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