We rolled up to Elevate Bikes & Boards with a tiny bike we purchased at a thrift store hoping we could transform it into our 5 year old’s first bike. Elevate shop owner Brian Klees took the pedals off & customized the seat height and advised us to return in around 6 months then he would re-install the pedals
But he did more than take the pedals off the used bike, he took the time to listen and respond to our needs. Then he devised a game plan.
We knew he was a different kind of merchant because our transaction was a ten dollar customization and given his shop rate he lost money on the deal. I had to find out more about Brian but I didn’t want to get too obsessive or geeked up about it. Then about a month later I saw this innovative and architectural sign installed on top of his shop.
Elevate owner Brian Klees father was a master metal machinist who fabricated highly specialized camera parts for arthroscopic surgery. Brian’s dad made the sign that Brian designed. The sign is beyond artsy, it’s a tricked out silhouette of a bmxer. It spins like a weathervane. It conveys the action theme of the store and is also serves as the logo for Klee’s very life. Brian lives in the world of high adrenaline extreme sports.
OLYMPIC GOLD COMES TO ROSEDALE
Elevate Bikes & Boards promotes gear by Shred Optics owned and operated by the legendary Ted Ligety. Some believe Ligety was the best giant slalom racer in the history of skiing. At age 21, Ligety shocked the World by becoming the youngest American male to win an Olympic Gold Medal in Alpine Skiing. Klees sells Ligety’s Shred brand helmets, goggles, sunglasses, protection shirts, and gloves for skiers, boarders and cyclists.
Back to Mr. Klees. He is definitely not your typical merchant. He is more like the guy you don’t want to fuck with at a party. He has street smarts laced with business savvy. His business model is to help people with their passions for biking and boarding. Period.
One thing striking was some custom motorcycles he designed but Klees was almost shy about discussing this project. I wish I had a photo of these remarkable motorbikes. They reminded me of DaVinci meets the future. They had the look of the very first bikes BCA designed but had some surreal metal art flair to them.
Klees keeps a grassroots approach about business. You don’t get the feeling he is one of these merchants who entered the business world to get rich. He is more like a guy that can do back flips on his bike and just decided to jump into the world of bike & board gear.
There are shops in town with larger selections and fancier fixtures but Brian Klees lives the life he sells. So he comes across much more genuine vs a poser. He can talk about partying, marijuana laws & helping the homeless. Once he fabricated a metal cart so a man on the streets could transport heavy water heaters to be recycled. He said “If I see someone out there trying I won’t hesitate to help. I think this is better for all vs just handing someone money.” It reminded me of the story of teaching someone to fish vs. just giving someone fish.
When we visited Elevate Bike & Boards the shop was a bike store but around October the boutique shop will transform into selling boards & accessories. With the Shred Optics partnership, the transition will be seamless as both Klees and Legity have similar models. Precisely to be all things revolving around Bikes & Boards.
Colorado is an undisputed top 3 market for outdoor enthusiasts. Klees will thrive but not because of volume...but because he cares. His passion is infectious. The front and back of the shop are hangouts for extremists. Inside Klees and his crew will take care of you. Klees has the right personality for the position. He is confident not arrogant and has a great sense of branding. I don’t think I’ve seen anything quite as remarkable as his sign. It conveys the store’s identity and also serves as public art. Rosedale is lucky to have someone with the vision of Klees. I challenged Brian to “take a break” from bmxing so he can stay injury free. He said he lives for the fear and thrill of the next ride but admits that the time demand of running a shop may slow him down some. He has been in quite a few “incidents” on and off the trail and we just want him to remain healthy so we can see what his next creation will be.
Elevate Bike & Boards, 2395 S Downing St, Denver