Tuesday, January 25, 2022 Jan 25, 2022
56° F Dallas, TX


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Rock & Rollerblades

“I ve got rock on one side and roll on the other,” says Barry Kooda, owner of Expo Rock and Roll, a shop that sells and repairs guitars and rents rollerblades. As a guitar player with local bands Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! and Jack, Kooda says he got into guitar repair by accident when he was asked to fix the guitars a friend smashed on stage during a concert. From there, his guitar repair business grew. In February of this year he opened Expo Rock and Roll across from Fair Park and added rollerblades to his inventory.

“The main thing for me in life is music and animals,” says Kooda, a former director of the Irving Humane Society, while stroking the belly of Munchkin, his 14-year-old cat. Ming, a smoky gray cat, traipses along the counter and settles on top of a stack of amplifiers, while a faded orange tabby peeks out from the doorway that leads to the back of the shop. All four cats seem at home between the rock and the roll.

Two girls walk into the shop and the cats take notice. “We’ve come for blades,” says one girl in black leggings and a T-shirt. They lace up their skates, slip on knee and elbow pads and hobble out of the shop. “Use the handrail,” shouts Kooda from behind the counter. “I always worry about them when they leave,” he says, shaking his head.

Kooda, 40 this year, lives in the back of the shop with his wife. “I’m now living the alternative lifestyle that I wanted,” he says. “Most of my friends are getting their hair permed and wearing polyester.” Expo Rock and Roll is open Thursday-Monday, 831-C Exposition, 824-2914. -Ellise Gunnell

Christian’s Profession

Toe-to-toe, they line up like soldiers waiting for Inspection-red boots, brown boots, turquoise boots, boots with pointy toes, tall boots and short boots. At Blues Suede Shoe, a vintage boot shop in Deep Ellum, cowboy boots of all shapes and sizes are available to buy or trade. “Boots are like tires for your feet,” says shop owner Christian Brooks, above. “Two pairs of boots may look the same, but a good boot will hold up. If you know how to take care of It.” Sitting on a stool, ham mering crescent shapes onto a guitar strap with a rawhide mallet, it’s obvious what Brooks’ calling Is. At 41, he has been working with leather almost all his life. While at Camp Grady Spruce, 9-year-old Christian learned to make leather coasters and ashtrays. Two years after he graduated from Carter High School In Oak Cliff he opened Christian’s Custom Leather on Jefferson Boulevard. There, he hand-crafted leather vests and belts as well as guitar straps for friends Stevie Ray Vaughan, Don Henley, Bugs Henderson and Ray Wylle Hubbard. Early this year he opened Blues Suede Shoe. Brooks and his staff repair and custom-make boots, belts, purses, bags (made from the tops of boots), bootstraps and satchels. Blues Suede Shoe, 2815 Main, 651-0710. -E.G.

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