Versed Skateboard Shop owner Aaron Vaughn has brought his two-decade love for skateboarding to Carmel.
“I grew up in Lawrence and started skating when I was 11. A bunch of my friends and I grew up skating together,” said Vaughn, 31. “I never wanted to do anything else.”
Vaughn, a 2011 graduate of Lawrence Central High School, spent time in Los Angeles and Chicago “chasing the dream as a competitor” and working on video projects.
“The highlight of my career has actually been coming back to my roots and starting a shop,” Vaughn said. “Putting new peers on and sponsoring them, putting out videos and taking care of the community has been my biggest highlight of my skateboard journey.”
In 2017, Vaughn became manager for one of his sponsor stores, RISE Skateboard Shop, in Carmel.
“My turning point was just realizing the most realistic option for me to build a comfortable life and future for myself was to not be on the competitive side of skateboarding and chose to work in the industry on some scale,” he said.
Vaughn bought the store that became Minus Skateboard shop in Monon Square in 2019 to continue building community in Carmel.
“I wanted a community-based shop, something different, a place for people to be authentic and genuine while growing in the sport,” Vaughn said. “I grew up going to a shop where they held demos and held signings for professional teams.”
Vaughn’s goal is to bring those events and sense of community to Carmel. He also wants to highlight the artistic side of skateboarding with board art exhibits.
Renamed Versed, the shop relocated last year to 10567 North College Ave., because of the closure and demolition of Monon Square for redevelopment.
“The move impacted business and the name switch did as well,” Vaughn said. “Interior and appearance-wise, this new location is better.”
The addition of skateboarding to the Olympics starting with the 2020 Summer Games in Tokyo and the upcoming Summer Games in Paris “took it to the next level,” Vaughn said, and led to more people visiting the shop.
Versed aims to foster a strong sense of community for its customers.
“During a time when buying from large online skate stores is becoming more commonplace, Versed provides the traditional neighborhood skate shop experience where the foundations of a strong local skate culture are cultivated,” said Ben Virata, local skateboarder and project editor for Versed YouTube videos.
Vaughn’s passion for youth to engage in a sport and have something to work toward is reflected in the space. Versed sells components for customized skateboards, as well as clothing and shoes. The shop carries a variety of styles and brands to fit many interests, skill sets and ages. Vaughn has seen parents with kids as young as 3 come in wanting to get started in the sport.
“Recently, a dad came in wanting to get his kid into it. We offer pre-built introductory completes. It makes it easier on the parent,” Vaughn said. “We have people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s come in wanting the brands they remember. We offer those heritage brands reissued.”
Versed also offers fully customizable options.
“Our board wall lets the customer choose a completely a-la-carte experience,” Vaughn said.
Store hours are noon to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It is closed on Mondays until Feb. 19. Vaughn is the only employee and is there whenever the shop is open.
Versed also offers an online shop and domestic shipping.
“As inventory comes in, we have hot drops. Things sell out quickly,” Vaughn said.
Versed carries most major skateboard and apparel brands including Vans, New Balance, Last Resort, Emerica and Nike and a line of branded Versed apparel and skateboards.
Vaughn is working to secure a location for an indoor training facility for growing the skateboarding community in Carmel.
Find updated inventory and updates at versedboardshop.com.
The skateboarding community promotes its members and skills through videos.
Versed recently completed two projects: 65 Connection and Activated.
“Working with (Versed owner Aaron Vaughn) on 65 Connection felt natural. Not only is he driven to push his abilities, he is also a true lover of skateboarding, which made it quite easy for me and my like-minded friends to form real friendships with him,” said Ben Virata, 65 Connection project editor. “As the editor, I really appreciated his input and attention to detail when it came to creating our vision for this project. What that vision ultimately became was showcasing the dedication and creativity of our slice of the Indiana skateboarding community.”
View the videos at youtube.com/@VERSEDSKATEBOARDSHOP.