30. DAVID WOOD & HANNAH DEENE WOOD: THE TALENT BEHIND TALENT
Sometimes you don’t realize how much something means until it’s gone. That was the case with Talent Skatepark. The skatepark which David and Hannah Deene Wood opened in Williston in 2001 was a fixture in the community—the only indoor skatepark in Burlington and the largest in New England.
As Joe Healy told the story in Vermont Sports. “After UVM, Hannah had been managing a skateboard shop in Burlington and customers kept telling her that the city needed an indoor skate park. One night, she met David Wood manager of a skate shop from Massachusetts and they started talking; he designed and built skate parks professionally. Drawn together by their similar life interests, they ultimately decided to team up on a skateboard business in South Burlington, which they called Talent Skatepark & Shop.”
Before the skatepark even opened though, Hannah fell from a ladder and suffered a traumatic brain injury. She recovered and has become an advocate for TBI survivors. She also became a den mother of sorts to the thousands of kids who cycled through Talent, including such future stars as pro skater Chris “Cookie” Colbourn, who started at Talent when he was 9.
In 2018, the shop was facing stiff competition from online retailers and the couple had to shut Talent down. That’s when the community stepped in. Parents got together, local chefs held a fundraiser and Burton stepped in and offered to house Talent in 7,400 square feet of space in one of its warehouses in South Burlington.
A year ago, Talent reopened as a non-profit skatepark and brought Hannah, who had been working at the Howard Center, back as executive director–and den mother to a new generation of skaters.