Outdoor retail company announces plans to establish campus in Tahoe City

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Plans for an outdoor retail company to open a campus at a pair of historic buildings along Tahoe City’s downtown strip were announced last week.

Evo plans to build a campus that will include a retail store, hotel, café, bar, service shop, space for community programming and events, and an art gallery at the site occupied by the historic Tahoe building and America’s Best Value Inn.

The Tahoe Inn, shown in 1935, will be the future home of evo’s Campus Tahoe City.

“Our aim is to provide a gathering place for the community, anchored in our shared love for the outdoors,” said Bryce Phillips, founder and CEO of evo in a news release. “We are really grateful to have this opportunity in Tahoe. It’s a place that is truly magnetic for us — so many great people and relationships from over the years, the beauty of the region, its culture — all intersect making this an especially exciting next step for evo.”

Evo will partner with JK Architects on the project with plans on restoring the two buildings to more closely resemble when they were originally built.

“This campus project will breathe new life into the existing buildings and do so in a way that celebrates the local surroundings,” said Tommy Trause, head of new locations development and hospitality at evo, in a news release. We are inspired to spotlight the culture, art and recreation in this fantastic community, generating even more excitement about the area and its heritage.”

Trause said the Tahoe Inn, which last housed The Blue Agave restaurant, will serve as evo’s flagship store.

The Blue Agave building was purchased by Evolution Projects, a Seattle-based real estate developer that seeks out new opportunities to create special places in desired places and build on the characteristics that make them special.
Rob Galloway / Tahoe Daily Tribune

“That building, over the years, has really been kind of layered upon and layered upon. Almost like a Frankenstein effect where you’ve got all these different additions …. We really want to take it back to its purest form, to what it looked like when it was first built,” said Trause. “Our goal architecturally is really to take away and restore the historic beauty of the old Tahoe Inn, and that will really be the front porch to our campus project.”

The America’s Best Value Inn building will become evo’s second hotel, according to Trause.

“We are very aware about the fact that we’re taking the torch from two historic properties,” he said. “We’re humbled by the heritage of the site itself but really invigorated by what it also could become.”

The two properties will be tied together with some kind recreational amenity said Trause.

“It could be a skate spine,” he added. “It could be a climbing boulder. It could be an in-ground trampoline. How do you really activate the space by adding recreational amenities?”

Plans are to incorporate several units of workforce housing into the project as well. Evo also announced plans for a second phase of development in the back parking area that will include new construction in order to expand amenities and offerings at the location.

“I’m beyond stoked to welcome evo to Tahoe City because they have a strong history of not just building a store, but building a space for art, creativity, activity and community,” added Cody Townsend, Tahoe-based professional skier. “Evo being a part of Tahoe City will be a key factor to the rebuilding and reinvigoration of North Lake Tahoe around the community that calls it home.” 

Brendan Madigan, owner of Alpenglow Sports, said evo’s entrance to North Tahoe could help uplift morale and keep the town economically relevant. 

“Alpenglow Sports is a 42-year-old anchor of Tahoe City – we’ve always sought to give back to the community that has given us so much, primarily through events and philanthropy,” stated Madigan in a news release. “I’m excited to partner with our new neighbors as we share an intersectionality of community compassion and care. A rising tide truly lifts all ships, and we’re excited to collaborate with such a compelling group for the betterment of Tahoe City and the North Shore at large.”

Plans are to open the campus within the next two years. Evo will be hosting a community open house on Sept. 15, and will have leadership on hand to answer questions about the project. 

“We are deeply committed to understanding the community needs prior to opening,” said Head of Marketing Rebecca Heard. “We’re inviting residents and locals to explore the project, hear from evo employees and leadership, ask questions and more.”

The outdoor experiences company operates 11 stores in the U.S. and Canada, a website, two skateparks, and is also involved in lodging and travel businesses.

Trause added that the company has been in contact with the Lapp family and said there’s interest in collaborating on the Scotty Lapp Memorial Skate Park. As of Thursday, the park’s GoFundMe campaign has raised $225,217 of a goal of $250,000 to build a skatepark in the name of Scotty Lapp, a North Tahoe High School student, who died following a ski accident this year at Alpine Meadows.

“We’ve been so inspired and grateful to hear the vision of the Lapp family and to get to meet their foundation board in that process,” said Trause. “We’re just so stoke for their vision of a skatepark in memory of Scotty. We’re just trying to make sure we can collaborate and off any assistance on our end. It just cements for us our original assumptions of the quality and character of the Tahoe City community.”

Visit for updates.

“First and foremost, we’re coming in with humility,” concluded Trause. “We have such excitement and love for Tahoe City and all of North Lake, but we want to hear from the people who play there regularly.”

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