For over 20 years, Edgeworks & Bicycle Doctor has been the best spot in Denver for guaranteed good service and a proper ski tune. Recently, when I heard the shop was being sold, I was heartbroken. I figured someone who was going to turn that small space into something strictly retail-oriented, cutting out the best ski and bike technicians in Denver. I sighed, and kept scrolling my Twitter feed.
Not long after this headline, I found out that Edgeworks was being purchased and rebuilt by one of the coolest retailers in all of action sports, evo. I was really loving the way evo was combining action sports, art, and community events in their Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon storefronts, and wondered if they would someday do the same in Colorado.
By bringing their model to Denver, and working closely with the former owner of Edgeworks to maintain the incredible service, evo founder Bryce Phillips is really creating something special on Broadway. In addition to a retail space, service center, and art gallery, they plan to install a venue for film premiers and an area for community gatherings. These types of spaces make it feel like evo has a soul, rather than the box stores that encourage hasty purchases and high rates of customer turnover.
In a world where most are lost in the anonymity provided by Amazon Prime and Target, what evo has seen is that by building these community spaces their business model is endeared to shoppers. Even though the company started strictly in e-retail from Phillip’s garage in 2001, and more than three-quarters of evo’s current business is based on internet sales, opening storefronts seems like it would be against the current norm. What evo has seen, however, is that brick-and-mortar storefronts increase online sales in the area, in addition to reaching more consumers by being visible within the community.
The idea of a store being a place to hang out is something younger consumers especially appreciate, as evidenced by the abandoned Sports Castle just a few blocks up the street from the Denver evo’s current construction zone. Anyone who ever spent time in the parking garage during SNIAGRAB will understand that the Sports Castle was as welcoming when it was open as it is permanently closed. The Denver evo store hopes to be the polar opposite feel of this.
The Denver evo is scheduled to open in November, 2016, and will have a few avalanche awareness classes and film showings right off the bat to get people into the new space. They are also working with Kay Flockhart, the artist behind Faction Skis’ women’s line, to paint a large mural on the storefront. “I love RiNo,” Phillips says, “but it would be great to spread out street art all over Denver.” On top of all this, evo is working with SOS Outreach and looking for more community-based non-profits focused on youth that can benefit from collaboration, plus creating about 25 new jobs through this space.
Part of me is still sad that the funky little shop on the corner known as Edgeworks and Bicycle Doctor is no longer there. But so long as evo continues to hold true to their mission statement and create a business that gives back to the community, this change is ultimately for the better. Plus, I can still get a great ski tune when I’m back in town, and will probably see a few friends while I’m there.