Evo’s 10th anniversary party
How do you celebrate your 10th anniversary when you’re the premier ski and snowboard shop in Seattle and, thus, the anchor of the local snow-riding community in a city where worshiping winter is more a lifestyle than a sport?
You throw a party for the ages and honor your guests by ushering them into the center of that pulse. Via a red carpet.
That’s what iconic board shop evo did Friday night at an eccentric warehouse on Stone Way in Seattle’s Wallingford district. Spotlights twirled in the night sky and a line hundreds long wrapped about the building. Inside, the party would grow to 1,500 by night’s end.
The location was The Fremont Collective, the latest project of evo Properties. The space won’t be open till next spring, but evo patrons got a sneak peek of the renovated 25,500-square-foot venue, which will become “home to restaurants, work spaces, event space and even a skate park.”
(Editor’s note: Read my interview with evo founder Bryce Phillips here.)
The theme Friday night was “neon” and retro sun glasses were available at the door for guests to don as they made their way around stations that occupied corners of the party halls: beer vendors serving local Redhook brews, catered deserts, the popular USNAPS photo booth, I think I saw screen printing at the Nike station? and a vodak station from Burton.
The industry’s heavy hitters came out en masse to congratulate the company, from national media to pro riders, TMs and industry reps. Sponsors included a cohort of major ski and snowboard brands, as well as Red Bull and Transworld Snowboarding.
A winter outerwear fashion show kicked off the night before folks from The Service Board spoke on stage. A short performance from Mili C and Khingz was followed by the impassioned sounds of Fly Moon Royalty, who kept the party dancing for hours. Then DJ Solomon took it deep into the night.
Proceeds from ticket sales and drink donations went to The Service Board, a non-profit focused on building self-knowledge, skills and courage in area youth through experiences like snowboarding and skateboarding. Such partnerships are part of a larger initiative that evo’s founder, Bryce Phillips, has to make his company’s name synonymous with giving back to the community.
Phillips, pictured above center, founded “evolución Innovations” LLC officially in 2001 as an online gear retailer, while splitting his seasons between Whistler and Seattle during college.
In 2005, evo opened a brick-and-mortar shop in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood and organically established itself as a community center, so to speak, for local ski and board-sport enthusiasts. The large shop venue hosts a flurry of snow-inspired events—film premieres, concerts, parties—during the fall and winter months, and rotating art shows in its adjacent timesinfinity gallery throughout the year.
Evo recently launched the third chapter of its retail initiatives by publishing a print catalog. It spotlights product and solidifies the story of evo for customers, most of whom are online consumers outside of Seattle. Phillips acknowledges the backwards retail model, but says each medium has only bolstered the others in terms of customer understanding of evo’s products and message: wishing to foster a community as excited about snow-sports as they are.
Across from the music stage, party-goers were treated to riveting artwork by local artist Son of a Gun, whose designs are featured on products across the action sports industry; he was there on behalf of Skullcandy.
Down below the music- and libation-sloshed scene, a silent auction and a mechanical bull from Ride entertained guests. Innerspace was open to skateboarders.
In that third room too, the Retro Snow vintage snowboard show displayed an array of old boards culled from snowboarding’s past—from its formative years with primitive technology, up through the neon decade and into Jamie Lynn’s early art-decorated lines and beyond. The collection, curated by a handful of local guys, was a nostalgic treat.
Over its 10 years, evo has grown from two employees to nearly 100. In-house, they do everything from copy writing product descriptions for the web, to online customer service, in-shop tech maintenance and, of course, sales. The operation has come a long way in its short time, but Seattle seems to breed such entrepreneurial success stories. Phillips says it hasn’t been without its challenges, but he credits the employees for much of the company’s success.
The store is located at 122 NW 36th St, Seattle, 98107. Or at evo.com, where you can also order a catalog.
Congrats to evo for their accomplishments and here’s to another 10 years of building community around the snow lifestyle. And to dancing late into the night and long into the future.