Evo, the action sports and outdoor retailer, announced the completion of its purchase of Whistler Village Sports Ltd. and their five retail locations in Whistler, British Columbia.
The partnership brings together two businesses and founders whose paths intersected early on in Evo’s history. Whistler Village Sports Ltd.’s retail stores will join with the Seattle-based retailer to establish Evo’s first physical presence in Canada, combining Evo’s innovative retail capabilities with Whistler Village Sports Ltd.’s long-standing reputation for customer service, passionate employees and local expertise.
“Had anyone asked me where I’d hope to plant a flag, anywhere in the world at some point, it would have been an easy answer,” said Bryce Phillips, Evo founder and CEO. “Whistler is a global icon, mecca for all that love to mountain bike, snowboard, ski and even skate. The breadth of activity and the fact that it’s been designed to appeal to all abilities make this place very special.”
Founded in 1980, Whistler Village Sports Ltd. has grown to one of Whistler’s leading independent retailers under owner Dave Milley. The company operates five distinct retail stores: Whistler Village Sports, Excess Backcountry, Excess Ski + Sport, Mountain Riders and Sportstop. Each of the locations is full-service and specializes in outdoor and action sports, ranging from mountain biking and skateboarding to snowboarding and backcountry skiing. All of the company’s employees will stay on through the partnership with Evo, as will Milley.
“Whistler Village Sports was one of the first sports stores in the Village, and I know Bryce will continue our independent legacy and keep that part of Whistler going as a community store,” said Milley. “We have a lot of long-term staff that have been with us with years of experience, and everyone is stoked on the fit with Evo. They have a very similar culture and attitude toward the business and enjoying the outdoors.”
“Dave and his team have built an amazing business and we feel fortunate to get an opportunity to learn from their successes,” Phillips said. “We bring something very different to the table, and we believe we can leverage the ‘best of’ across the partnership. While we have three existing stores, we don’t yet operate in a resort market. Conversely, Whistler Village Sports has not been web-focused, so we believe there’s tremendous upside in combining what we do online with their retail expertise in Whistler. We look forward to how we can have a positive impact on the local community, partnering with non-profits like Zero Ceiling and providing opportunities for the staff to volunteer with the organizations of their choosing.”
The move into Whistler is another step toward accomplishing Evo’s three founding goals, the driving force of the business since its inception: to build an iconic brand and business; to create an extraordinary place and path for Evo employees; and to leverage Evo’s success to give back to the communities we serve. Whistler is the perfect place for Evo to continue to realize these goals, as both Phillips and the brand have roots there.
“Bryce and I met years ago when he was looking to buy some demo skis,” said Milley. “He was a young guy trying to get his start in the ski business on the internet. We told him he had to pretty much take them all, which he did, and we stayed in touch ever since.”
“I’m not sure that there could be a more full-circle story,” said Phillips, who moved to Whistler in 1997 during the beginning of his professional skiing career. “After launching the original Evogear.com website in 2001, I started buying skis from Dave/Whistler Village Sports. I could never have imagined that nearly 15 years later we’d be buying the business. To be spending time here with my wife and kids, building relationships with the Whistler Village Sports team and connecting with good friends throughout the Sea to Sky corridor really is a dream come true. I can’t wait for all that is to come.”
New Partner Locations
- Whistler Village Sports – 4254 Village Stroll, Whistler, BC
- Excess Backcountry – 4154 Village Green, Whistler, BC
- Excess Ski & Sport – 4557 Blackcomb Way, Whistler, BC
- Mountain Riders – 4309 Skiers Plaza, Whistler, BC
- Sportstop – 4154 Village Green, Whistler, BC
Evo, which started online in 2001, has three stores in Seattle; Portland, OR; and Denver.
Evo put out a Youtube video providing more details on the announcement.
Image courtesy Evo