Retail Profiles: Seattle’s evo

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122 NW 36th Street
Seattle, Washington
(206) 973-4470

Founded as an online shop in 2002 by Bryce Phillips, evo has become an icon of the Northwest scene. With a broad array of products and a creative take on what a boardsports store can be, the company has thrived by developing a strong online presence that outperforms its physical store, which opened in 2005, four times over, a value driven culture, a travel service for action sports based adventures, and a reputation as a stand out retailer with a knowledgeable staff.

When asked what stokes him out most about his business, Phillips explains: "I’m here because I love the people. 'The people' include everyone that works at evo, our customers, people we do business with and anyone/everyone else that we come into contact with through this great job. Of course building a world-class company with a collective vision to do things differently is all part of it, but in the end, it all boils down to the people. If it weren’t for working with and connecting with great people, forget it."

Phillips says one of the main reasons they have such a solid crew is due to the company's core values, "The Great Eight":

1. Authenticity
We are a group of genuine, passionate people. We are true to the participation, progression and lifestyle of the sports and style we represent and at a deeper level we are committed to being ourselves.
2. Balanced Ambition
At evo, we are committed to balance. While extremely challenging, balancing professional ambitions and life outside of work is core to this company’s success.
3. Credibility
We are working hard to earn respect from our core customer.
4. Style
We are dedicated to creatively exceeding our customer's and partner's expectations in a style that can only be called "evo style".
5. Leadership
At evo we lead by example, are not afraid to take risks and learn from our failures. We strive to be leaders as individuals and as a company to ultimately change things for the better.
6. Respect
evo is focused on being respectful to all individuals, the industries and communities we live and play in.
7. Communicación
evo promotes a culture of respectful communication throughout the company; communication is central to building and nurturing strong, trusting relationships. Communication is an obligation.
8. Evolución
There is always a better way of doing things and we are committed to continually finding ways to improve.

In addition to having a value-driven culture, the company focuses heavily on social responsibility. It's corporate responsibility mission statement says: "From the beginning, evo Inc. has promoted the all-important balance between lifestyle and the workplace. In fact, working for evo Inc. is a lifestyle; it means being involved in and promoting the progression of the sports the represents. It is being respectful to all individuals, the industry and community. It is also about having a sense of humor and being able to laugh at past mistakes and quirky individualities.

"Working for evo Inc. is a morning session on the lake before putting in a hard days work. It is also spending an extra hour with the local non-profit that won't necessarily add to the bottom line. While the company aggressively pursues new opportunities, evo Inc.'s culture is about balanced ambition that will continue to reward well-rounded people as well as fuel a successful company."

One of the standouts in the evo crew is Buyer Gorio Bustamante. We caught up with Gorio to find out what's going down in Seattle.

How big is your shop?
7,000 square feet (10,000 with the office).

How did you get into retail?
By selling personal gear on Ebay to survive spending the winters in Whistler. Bryce, our owner, used to be a pro skier. I spent 20 plus years working in a snowboard shop.

What percentage of your business is online vs. brick and mortar?
Online 80%, Brick and Mortar 20%.

What are some key strategies for your online program?
To convey the events and people surrounding the store to the online community.  Check it out HERE.

What are your predictions for the future of online retail?
Economical fall out in both online and brick and mortar will continue. However, the surviving retailers and manufacturers will experience rapid growth in online sales moving forward.

What products are currently your top performers online?

The core products that a brand is known for and has traditionally sold well are gaining strength. Products with rocker technology and bindings with easy entry features have also gained momentum. Boots that have lacing systems that work well. On the contrary, boots with lacing systems that do not work well do not sell well.

How much of your inventory is hardgoods?


Percentage of inventory dedicated to:
Men's apparel: 60%
Junior's: 3%
Accessories: 15%
Shoes: 5%
Sandals: 1%

Top three most profitable product categories?

Ski, Snowboard, Wake

What are the best selling brands in these?
Ski – K2, Salomon, Line.
Snowboard – Ride, Nitro, Never Summer.
Wake – Liquid Force, CWB, Ronix.

Who are the top three reps that service your store and why?
Dan Sorceneli, Jake Darro, Jak Green. They have a great balance of product knowledge and salesmanship, while understanding how to balance their time in the store, on the hill, and at their desk.

What's the single best-selling brand over the past six months?


Check out evotrip, evo’s action sports travel agency and network.

What make you unique in your hood?
Free-for-all with low margins. We make unique best party. You come? (free beer at the parties and in-store events)

What stores are your closest competition?
Big 5, Fred Meyer, Alpine Hut, Proski Service, REI, SnoCon, Seattle Ski, Sturtevants /Boarderline.

What are your expectations for your business over the next 6-12 months?
For brick and mortar, flat is the new black. Online, we would like to continue our aggressive growth without sacrificing our customers’ experience or our credibility.

What do you see, in a macro sense, as far as the retail landscape?

It's getting tougher with light at the end of a very long tunnel.

Are you altering the way you buy for 09?

Yes. We're buying far fewer models, products and brands. It’s always been about value, this year it’s even more important to find the best value for our customers and us. The market is SO diluted; it makes the buying decisions easy.

Are you working closer with any particular brands?
Ride, K2, Never Summer and Nitro.

What are some things brands are doing to work with your shop?
Saying yes to our ideas, coming up with creative events, contests, and unique ways to broadcast our brand to all the consumers we have yet to reach.