Whether you’re seeking saltwater or asphalt, Compound’s homegrown culture and pure allegiance for boarding has made it a grassroots stomping ground for Floridians. With the recent transition to a shiny new Osprey Ave. storefront at the entrance of Siesta Key, Compound Boardshop held a Grand Opening Party brimming with music and pizza, while kids got to meet and greet the Volcom Pro Skate team passing through on their countrywide tour. Volcom even presented Compound with a custom deck signed by the team, which is now hanging proudly in the shop. But beyond Compound’s supply of stoke-worthy apparel and accessories from leading industry brands making it a one-stop shop for all things surfing, skateboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, fly fishing and athletic-wear, the real surge of local loyalty stems from involvement in the community. And a lot of that comes down to the boss behind the boards, Jacob Shields, who founded Compound in 2003. 

PHOTO BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

Having moved from North Carolina to Venice, FL,when he was 14, Shields experienced firsthand how the area’s outdoor culture has broadened over the years, and ultimately found a void he knew he could fill. “When I was younger, you would get busted anywhere you’d skate and it was kind of hard being a kid in an older community,” he says. “I wanted to offer a place that, regardless if you’re a good skateboarder or surfer, you have a place you feel welcomed, where we can cultivate a lifestyle that doesn’t always cost money”. Indeed, Compound has found a way to offer free events for anyone who cares to participate, including beach cleanups, skim/skate clinics, contests, surf camps with Parks and Rec of Sarasota County, and even movie nights, such as the recent Fly Fishing Tour documentary premiered at Perq Coffee Bar while the audience enjoyed beers from Calusa Brewery. “We didn’t have any of that,” says Shields, recalling old friends who went down dark paths due to boredom. “Now people don’t have the excuse there’s nothing to do here as a kid.” Most notable is the highly anticipated Mision Mexico Fundraiser, which raises money every year for a children’s orphanage Compound supports in Tapachula, Mexico. The family-friendly block party packs in games, raffles, food from Mi Pueblo, a mini skate ramp, a rock-climbing wall and even a mechanical shark to ride. 100% of all proceeds generated from the accompanying auction go directly to Misión Mexico Foundation.

PHOTO BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

Moving out of the strip mall and to the new location on Osprey, designed by Jonas Yoder Custom Homes, Shields sees it as a natural but needed progression. “This will be our 15th year, and the only way I could foresee us being able to sustain and evolve was if we owned our own standalone property,” he says. “Now we can do any event we want to do, and we’re free to make it however we want, “clearly seen with the mural painted along the wall.” It feels like a better fit too, he says, being in a neighborhood close to the beach. And inside, the shop reflects that Sarasota community more than the California brands that typically dictate what’s cool in this industry. “We want the shop to be a constant reflection of people we have relationships with—our customers, friends, and kids we support from town who are athletes, artists or photographers,” explains Shields, noting little-to-no branding from mainstream companies. “It’s all people we’re connected to in some way, that have provided for us,” he continues, “I’m very relational, and there are certain companies who’ve made it a priority to support what we believe in—brands that consistently year after year come out to Misión Mexico and donate product we can raffle off or give our kids a game to play—those are the ones I care about the most, because they clearly care about us.” Making it a habit to partner with local brands and collaborate with local businesses, they’ve cultivated friendships you can clearly see within the shop.“That’s what makes this community so special, and one thing that’s neat about Sarasota—the people here care, and if they see you trying to provide a service, they really come around to support you. You don’t find that in a lot of places.”

PHOTO BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.