- Written by Ben Jacklet
- Category: Business
- Published: January 16, 2014
- Last Updated: October 29, 2014
The Seattle-based action sports gear and fashion apparel retailer evo has big plans for Portland.
evo founder and CEO Bryce Phillips grew up in Roseburg, Oregon and shredded Ashland, Bachelor and Meadows as a kid. He says the Oregon plan is to build a cultural community center as well as a store, a gathering place on Portland's Central East Side for music shows, art exhibitions, film premieres and benefits. The store will sell skis, snowboards, skateboards, and all sorts of apparel and accessories.
This will be the first evo store outside of Seattle. It will occupy 10,500 square feet at the old Salvation Army building at 200 MLK Way, and bring about 35 new jobs to Portland.
R&H Construction, which built the cool Keen Footwear store in the Pearl District, will be collaborating with Seattle-based Heliotrope Architects, designers of the evo store in Seattle's Fremont/Wallingford neighborhood. The Portland evo store is scheduled to open for business in fall of 2014.
Phillips says evo considered Denver, the Bay Area and other locations for its second store before choosing Portland. "Portland is the most natural extension for us," he says. "It's close to home, and culturally it's super relevant."
Phillips says when he was a kid growing up in Roseburg it used to be a big thrill to come up to Portland and visit shops like U.S. Outdoor Store to check out the latest gear. "There's definitely some great folks already in the Portland market," he says. "We just bring a new approach."
Oregon's independent ski and snowboard shops have been scrambling to stay in business with all the low-price competition on the Internet. At least three shops have gone under in the past year: the Ski Chalet in Beaverton, the Mt. Hood 26 Board Shop in Welches and the Bob's in East Portland. But whereas many retailers treat online competition as the enemy, evo's approach has been web-savvy from the beginning.
evo launched in Seattle in 2001 with a mission to promote the collaboration between culture and sport. The company sponsors pro athletes such as Andy Mahre, Eric Pollard, Austin Smith and Kimmy Fasani, and carries products from Oregon brands like Dakine, Nike, ON3P Skis, and Poler Stuff.
Phillips says evo's goal from the beginning has been to be more than a business. His primary influence is Patagonia founder Yvonne Chouinard, and he and his team subscribe to eight core values to guide evo as it expands: authenticity, balanced ambition, credibility, style, leadership, respect, communication and evolution. For more on the evo world view, check out this link.
"We can't wait to establish evo in Portland as a place for people who share a passion for skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, music, art, travel and the lifestyle that we live and breathe," says Phillips.
It will be worth paying close attention to exactly what Phillips and evo bring to Portland that is new, especially given the close proximity in Portland's Central Eastside of the popular outdoor store Next Adventure, not to mention the Mountain Shop a few miles away and U.S. Outdoor Store just across the river.
For a sense of what we might expect stylistically from the new Portland store, here are some photos that Bryce shared with Shred Hood of evo's store in Seattle: