evo Founder Bryce Phillips On Building Seattle’s Only Indoor Skatepark
evo’s Bryce Phillips has been at the helm of the All Togther Skatepark (ATS) project since its inception nearly a year and a half ago. For evo, one of Seattle’s most well-recognized core retailers in action sports, it made sense to support the build out of what will soon be the city’s only indoor skatepark, explains Phillips.
Together with evo’s Steve Settles, who has assumed the role of ATS Manager, and the crew at Grindline, All Together Skatepark has become not just a great idea for the surrounding skate community, but one that has come to life with support from locals and crowd sourcing campaign on Indiegogo.com.
“This is a skate-community-wide movement and the success of course, hinged on spreading the word,” explained Phillips. “It’s crazy because it rains a ton up here and this will be the only indoor park in all of Seattle.”
The ATS campaign, which lasted for a little more than a month and just wrapped up on October 23, outlined plans to rebuild the former skate park Inner Space, which shut down February 2012. The park started construction on October 10, nearly 13 days before the fundraising campaign came to an end, based on faith that the community would come through and help them meet the projects $35,000 goal. Thanks to an outpouring of support, the ATS project received a generous $36,605 in funding, and are finally putting the finishing touches on the build out, just in time for the Seattle skate community to settle into its new home during the rainy fall and winter months.
With a busy schedule balancing the management at evo and now taking on the planning behind ATS, Phillips answered a few questions about the park, how he hopes to bridge the participation gap, and how the skate park project came to life with help from across the industry.
How and when did the idea for this project come about?
Mid 2012 when the former park operator of Inner Space came to me to say that he was moving on, I knew that we needed to get this off of the ground. That said, to do it right we knew that it would take a huge effort including a lot of time in planning and also dollars. We had been aiming to open last year but ended up needing more runway so very happy to be launching now.
Who are the key people behind the project?
Originally we had a huge boost from Steve Klotz who helped us out of the gate. Marshall “Stack” Reid has been a driving force as well and we now have Steve Settles stepping up to move ATS forward. A couple more that were big contributors in helping get project this off of the ground were Dovetail General Contractors and Wintr, a creative agency that designed the ATS identity and helped with some of the web design.
It sounds like you’ve been rebuilding the park incrementally as funding comes in. How does it feel to hit your final goal with the Indiegogo campaign?
It was awesome to see this come to life and for a whole host of people throughout the community commit up front to funding so that we could get it launched. In addition to individuals in Seattle who pre-purchased a pass, event, skateboard etc, we receive some very early “seed” funding from the industry. Volcom, Kr3w, Supra, The Hundreds, Nike, and Dickie’s all sponsored the park, and Skatelite stepped up with all of the surfaces. There’s no way that we could have launched without all of this support.
How long has the building process taken?
Since breaking ground, it’s been very fast. Grindline, headed up by local skate icon Marshall Reid, have brought ATS to life in only a few weeks.
Learn more about the Business of Building Skateparks in an interview with Grindline Parks Founder Mark Hubbard.
Why do you see this project as necessary for the area?
Simple – it rains like crazy here and this is the only indoor park in Seattle.
How does a skatepark give back to the community? What are your specific plans for giving back with AllTogether?
We see ATS as a perfect medium to further our mission to give back, particularly to underprivileged youth. We already partner and will partner at a much deeper level with non-profits including The Service Board, Skate for a Change, Skate Like a Girl, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the list goes on. Providing the space for organizations like this to meet and skate with kids is a pretty awesome way to leverage this park to give back.
Do you have any ideas for collaboration product, events, etc. with Evo? If so, what do you have in the works?
Absolutely. While we have a lot of ideas, we look forward to really engaging industry partners and the community when it comes to events, contests, shoots, promotions and ATS product. We really see ATS becoming a center for the skate community both regionally and on a national level.
How do you see skateparks like this helping overall participation numbers? How does that in turn help the action sports community in your area? What other ideas do you have for driving participation and getting more kids on board?
If there isn’t at a very baseline, a dry place to skate 7-9 months per year, you can bet that a long list of potential participants will never come into the fold. Or, maybe some will but then lose interest while during the fall and winter making it unlikely that they will jump back in when the sun comes out. Providing a safe, positive place where kids can grow their passion for a sport like skateboarding is good on so many levels. And, as those of us know who have been exposed early on to action sports that we fell in love with, it inevitably becomes a lifelong journey that spins off onto friends and family members so making sure that their are accessible places to participate is critical. ATS is one “bridge” that evo can help build when it comes to participation but we really see this as just the beginning.