Living The Dream
Matt Troetti, a born and bred Oak Island local, has turned his passion his career with his board shop, Never Ever Boards. He attributes his lifelong love for outdoor sports to his hometown. “I just turned 27. I grew up in the area the majority of my life,” he said. “But I’ve always really been interested in an outdoor scene, especially living by the beach. It really forces you to love the outdoors and get involved in outdoor sports, activities and adventure. Just the thrill of it all. That really harnessed my interest in skating and outdoor sports.”
Never Ever Boards, which opened in May of 2018, sells everything from paddleboards, to skate boards, to clothing and accessories. When opening the shop, Matt learned that it was all about pacing yourself. “What I’ve learned more than anything is that it’s a series of steps. And collectively to reach any kind of goal, hitting those steps and benchmarks, you can do anything you want to do. So the goal was, I want to open a retail store, what do I have to do to make this happen?” he said. His entrepreneurial spirit drives his business, but his passion is what makes him enjoy the store. “What can I do that I’ll enjoy it, but won’t feel like I’m sacrificing these major parts of my life? I can do something where it would be more fun for me, and in a sense keep me young longer. There’s definitely a youthfulness to adventure sports,” Matt said.
Perhaps the best part of Never Ever Boards is the owner’s enthusiasm for his local community and charity. Matt donates five percent of the store’s annual net profits to the non-profit organization Charity: Water. “I’ve really liked Charity: Water for a really long time. What’s the resource that’s most important? Water. And they give 100 percent of proceeds directly to providing clean, safe drinking water,” said Matt. “I thought that was huge. If I’m involved in water sports, why not have a charity that helps provide this resource to developing countries around the world?”
From growing up in the area, Matt understands the needs of the local, younger generation as well. “A lot of kids will get in trouble here, and that all comes down to not having anything to do. Having the skate park open is keeping people together and giving kids something positive to do,” he said. Realizing that need, the shop played a key role in expanding the Oak Island skate park hours and eliminating fees. “That was an effort between the local youth and ourselves and understanding the importance of the skate park for the community. It was a good key move for our business and what we stand for.” After encouraging people to contact their council members and town staff, Matt addressed the issue at a town hall meeting. “It was really a watershed moment for me because there were so many people that were from the younger part of our community that were there to support it. They gave it to us as a Christmas gift, where they opened the park for free for the first time in 20 years with dawn til dusk hours. It was a huge win for us and the community.”
Looking around the store, you’ll also find products from other local businesses too. “Not only on a networking side and getting to know your fellow community and working with different local businesses on that level, but collaboration I think is key to having any type of successful business,” Matt said. “Because it’s a joint effort between these different businesses, where we’re able to combine marketing resources and efforts to make a larger goal happen. To bring all these things together and make a cool product for the customer, that’s what matters at the end of the day.”
With his already burgeoning business, Matt has even more goals for the future.
“Our numbers have been growing quite a bit. I would love to be able to go into production for our own products and get us into other shops, creating a stronger brand that would hopefully become its own line,” he said. Matt has treated the pandemic as his biggest lesson, “I’ve really learned about adapting and being ready to change. There’s always another opportunity, to not get stuck on ‘Oh I missed out on this,’ or kicking yourself because you didn’t take advantage of something. Keeping that positive mindset and abundance mentality, there’s enough to go around for everybody.”
At the end of the day, Matt’s goal for Never Ever Boards is to make people feel included. “What we really like to provide as an experience for someone in our store is to meet you at whatever level you’re at and make the process easy, guide you to pick what’s perfect for you and what you absolutely love. It can be a little overwhelming just starting out in these sports, because of how you might not be accepted,” he said. “Your willingness and desire to do it should be enough. It can just take someone a little longer to learn something, or you might not have the right set up. We want to provide what is perfect for you. We’re willing to help out kids, parents, grandparents, so we’re welcoming to everybody and that’s a core philosophy in our business. It’s important to be there for your people because you wouldn’t be there without them.”
You can find Never Ever Boards at 8813 E. Oak Island Dr. on Oak Island. Be sure to check out their social media on Facebook and Instagram (@nevereverboards) or their website at www.nevereverboards.com. You can also see them at the skate park for Oak Island’s Beach Day on July 25th, for the skateboarding competition, or at the store’s location from 11 am to 7 pm.