Seattle retailer evo buys Whistler Village Sports

evo enters Canada with the purchase of the five-store bike and ski store chain

Whistler Village Sports' stores all have different banners: Whistler Village Sports, Excess Backcountry, Excess Ski + Sport, Mountain Riders and Sportstop | Nate Simmons

The five-location, Whistler-based, ski and bike shop Whistler Village Sports Ltd. has been sold to Seattle-based action-sports retailer evo for an undisclosed amount, evo announced October 22.

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 retail stores in the Whistler region: 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 [evo owner] Bryce [Phillips] will continue our independent legacy and keep that part of Whistler going as a community store,” said Milley.

“Bryce and I met years ago when he was looking to buy some demo skis. 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.”

Driving the acquisition was a focus on accomplishing several goals, according to Phillips.

Those goals are 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 it serves.

“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.

He said that after he launched evo's first website in 2001, he started buying skis from Dave and Whistler Village Sports.

"I could never have imagined that nearly 15 years later we’d be buying the business,” he said.

gkorstrom@biv.com

@GlenKorstrom