With the local hockey season barely a slapshot away, one St. Vital business hopes to be at the sharp end of meeting the shinny needs of the community.
Elite Edge, located at 1677B St. Mary’s Rd., specializes in Fresh Gear equipment cleaning and Blademaster skate sharpening. It also stocks hockey and skate accessories and energy drinks.
The company, which is owned by entrepreneurs Jeff Arnold and Scott Greer, opened its doors this summer after Arnold realized the void left when Blitz Fresh Gear, located nearby on Britannica Road, closed down.
"I used them and they did a great job of sharpening skates for lots of people, so I didn’t want to lose this service in the area," said Arnold, who lives in St. Vital.
While Elite Edge doesn’t sell sticks, Arnold said it’s aimed at busy families on the move.
"I think the term one-stop shop tends to be overused, but you want to provide the best service possible, especially if your customers need to get it and out. We want to adjust and build around the needs of our community," he said.
A key selling point is the Fresh Gear machine, which helps take the stink out of sweaty hockey gear.
Arnold said the cleaning system is an environmentally friendly, chemical free process that uses "100 % all natural gas" that acts as a disinfectant. It is designed to kill bacteria and reduce odour, which is something that will resonate with many hockey parents.
"Reducing the smell is a huge plus," Arnold said, noting one client used the machine for his $350 pair of jeans because he didn’t want to wash them. "That smell can be very foul, especially if there are several hockey players in the household who are dumping their gear in the basement. It can be ridiculous at times."
Customer and area resident Steve Anderson, who plays hockey in a senior recreational league, said the business is located close to his home and a cut above the competition (a second Blademaster machine is due to arrive this week).
"My boys are playing at a high level, so they are very particular and want their skates done right," Anderson said, noting it can take up to 10 minutes to sharpen two sets of skates, depending on the request.
"If someone rushes or doesn’t pay attention to the angle, then it won’t be the perfect sharp."
Although it’s only been open a few months, Arnold is already thinking about how the business will cope during the off-season, as he is considering putting together packages for football and lacrosse teams and perhaps yoga participants next year.
For more information, visit www.eliteedgewpg.com or call 204-257-EDGE (3343).