One of the world’s leading skateboard equipment and apparel design firms is opening a “creative retreat” and community center within just an “ollie” – a leaping skateboard maneuver – of Boise’s Rhodes Park.
Element will remain headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., but Boise will become a special place for Element, which designs and distributes skateboard, accessories, apparel, back packs and duffel bags around the world with company stores in Times Square, Orlando, London, Paris, Melbourne and Universal City, Calif.
The Element in Boise, adjacent to the sprawling Rhodes Park skateboard park, won’t be a store, a manufacturing or a distribution center. Instead, said Element founder and owner Johnny Schillereff, the 3,000-square-foot space at at 304 Americana Blvd. will have an artist loft/showroom upstairs and a pop-up shop/community center for Rhodes Park skateboarders downstairs. Schillereff is moving his family to Boise.
“The big piece of this is philanthropy,” Schillereff said. “We have skateboard camps around the world. We want to bring that to Boise.”
Schillereff saw Boise’s former Rhodes Park setup when he visited Boise in August for a wedding. He’s impressed by the 1.28-acre
renovated park, which opened in April. It was designed by Seattle-based Grindline, which also designed skateboard parks in Middleton, Lewiston, McCall and Idaho Falls.
“I was riding my bike, looking at the park, and there it was, a perfect place for us to have our space,” Schillereff said.
He added that Rhodes was built “by one of the greatest skateboard park builders on the planet.”
“In my personal opinion, Rhodes is probably the greatest skateboard park in North America,” he said. “Wow, this is pretty hard core. They picked a place where skateboarders feel at home.”
Billabong, the Australian clothing retailer, bought Element in 2001, but Element largely retains its autonomy, Schillereff said. He expects to open the Boise Element location at the same time as the official grand opening ceremonies for Rhodes Park Aug. 6.
Schillereff founded a predecessor to Element in Atlanta in 1992 but moved the company to Costa Mesa in the later 1990s because that’s where his wood supplier was located. Element is headquartered in a facility called The Branch that is “somewhat skateboardable” throughout the building, complete with its own little skateboard park, an urban garden, plus an event space and it is pet-friendly and child-friendly.
“It’s a very playful environment,” Schillereff said.
Schillereff grew up an Army brat, living in many places, including the East Coast and five years in Germany.
“The biggest thing with Boise for myself, being an East Coast guy, is the real people, real life, real weather conditions,” he said. “I want to bring to Boise something that is accessible in New York and Los Angeles. ”