evo Founder Bryce Phillips On New Store, Skatepark, And More

evo Founder Bryce Phillips

It would be hard to one-up the year evo had in 2011. But after winning the TransWorld Business Retailer of the Year and Hardgoods Retailer of the Year and celebrating its 10th-anniversarythe Seattle-based shop managed to once again raise the bar, opening a new store in late 2012, and moving with forward with plans to reopen a huge skatepark as part of the complex its located in, dubbed The Fremont Collective.

As the sun set on 2012, we caught up with evo Founder Bryce Phillips to learn more about his company’s evolución.

We last “officially” caught up around this time last year for your 10th anniversary. It sounds like your 11th birthday might have been even bigger with the new store opening. Tell us a bit about the new space. Sounds like a lot of history there.

The new space builds on what we established in our first location adding a long list of elements that make it much more dynamic and work to create what we think is an extraordinary customer experience. We took two old adjoining buildings built in 1910, originally a mattress factory, and 1960 and fully converted them into what is now “The Fremont Collective”, collection of concepts including two great restaurants, evo and soon “All Together Skatepark,” aka ATS. The spaces are extremely integrated with lines of site from each concept to the other. Playing up the soulful materials and architecture that existed when we got the building and layering in the new design and uses make for a really cool contrast and a feel that’s  all but impossible to create in a brand new building.
evo’s new location
Why did you decide to move locations? What’s better about this one as far as traffic, layout, etc?
There are so many factors that we’ve been able to improve in when considering some of the retail basics and what was needed to optimize our store. While we are only a mile away from our last location, it’s now incredibly central with easy access off of I-5, Highway 99, 45th, The Burke Gilman Trail and even Lake Union. We are on a prominent corner with very good visibility at a four-way stop and have added considerable parking with a dedicated evo lot just across the alley from us to the east on 35th. Additionally, we have 50 percent additional selling square footage and an entire building dedicated to female shoppers. We always said that “People are risking their lives to get into evo!” which was true in our old location considering the busy corner and lack of parking. While we broke of the fundamental rules and still outgrew the location, we continued to ask ourselves, “What would happen if we followed some of the rules?”. At our new location we are definitely feeling like we made the right move.
It sounds like you guys are keeping a lot of the same vibe that helped evo become a gathering point for the community at the old store. What kind of events are you planning to host at your new location to bring people together?
We learned a lot in our old space and specifically, we learned that our focus on creating the true center for the community was both the right thing to do and good for business. In our new location we’ve really elevated that focus to a new level in regards to designing the space for events, gallery openings, music and all of the other opportunities that we are fortunate to be a part of. We worked closely with Skullcandy on a state of the art sound system. You’ll see the venue style marquee out front, the outdoor rotating mural wall, a stage in the women’s 1910 building, a lounge over the cash wrap and a more tightly integrated gallery that you can’t miss as you walk through the main floor. We’ve already had live music, ladies’ night and a host of other events that we’ve also positioned to help give back to non-profits including The Service Board and we are just getting started.

Follow the jump for more on the new skatepark and video from the 10-year anniversary party in the Fremont Collective.