In front of a house on a short, quiet street in Sardis sits a curved skateboard ramp with ‘Park’ written on it and an arrow pointing towards the back of the house. Tucked in behind the house, surrounded by trees and greenery, stands a treehouse.
This is PARK.
It’s not a park. It’s PARK Lifestyles Inc., a new business founded by four 17- and 18-year-old Chilliwack teenagers — Max Gardner, Lucas Parry, Devin Brandreth and Davis Graham.
PARK stands for Public Affiliation of Reckless Kids, and it’s a lifestyle brand focused on creating products such as clothing, skateboards, music and art made by individualistic kids who are following their own paths.
“We were talking last March to see if we could start a small revolution in Chilliwack,” says Davis.
That got Max thinking.
In three days Max came up with the idea and concept for PARK. At the beginning of January, he approached his three friends and together they put together a rough draft of a business plan in a week.
Before they even had their treehouse storefront known as ‘the den’ set up, they started telling their friends at Sardis secondary about PARK, and word quickly spread from there.
By opening day, on March 1, a flock of Chilliwack teenagers descended on the backyard. They were eager to get their claws on some PARK clothing.
“It was pouring rain and people were lined up before doors even opened at 3:30 p.m. on Friday,” says Max. “We broke even within the first hour of opening the doors. In the first 15 minutes we sold out of all of our mediums in the store,” he adds.
Not only that, but they sold out of everything in the first five days. They had to reorder more product.
But why such a big hype about clothing with a picnic table logo and “Public Affiliation of Reckless Kids” printed across the front?
It’s not just teenagers having an influence on their peers, or kids marketing to other kids. They’re doing more than that.
“With PARK we are incorporating everything we love to do, like skateboarding, music, art, changing the world, and trying to give back,” says Max.
They aren’t trying to give back, they are giving back.
A portion of their profits are put towards helping other people. Last month they sent five first-aid kits to Ghana, Africa. The kits were purchased from SafetyFirst Worldwide, and that company then matched PARK’s donation by sending five kits to Haiti.
Thanks to connections through family and friends, the guys at PARK are able to do work in west Africa and Haiti and eliminate the middleman, allowing 100 per cent of their donated funds to go directly to the first-aid kits.
“We are a corporation without greed. We want to make other corporations look bad, and we are really going up against greed,” says Davis.
They also have plans to put money towards national parks. Giving financial support to Canada’s parks is something all of them can connect with since parks are where the roots of their friendship sit.
“We all used to hang out at a park, and that’s where the name came from,” says Max.
Their love of parks and of Chilliwack is what PARK Lifestyle Inc. is based on.
“There’s a lot of talent and goodness in Chilliwack, and people don’t realize it,” says Davis. “We are bringing out the potential in Chilliwack. We are living in such a beautiful place and we want to share that.”
Davis is the artist in the group. He created the company logo which is on all of the products (T-shirts, hoodies, hats, stickers, crew necks, and girls v-necks), plus he’s livened up the inside of the PARK store with large murals on the walls and ceiling.
Max takes care of the business side of things, such as meetings, marketing and sales. Lucas is also part of the marketing and sales, plus he’s designing an old-school skateboard, known as a shortboard, which will become part of PARK’s product line. Devin is the organizer and ensures everything runs smoothly.
Three of them — Max, Lucas and Devin — are finishing their Grade 12 year at Sardis. Davis graduated last year.
Their short-term goal is to have an all-ages music festival featuring local bands this summer. Their big goal is to have a store in the new Abbotsford mall that’s currently under construction.
“If you put your mind to it and time into it, it can actually come true,” says Max. “None of this would have happened if one of us dropped out. We all share the dream.”
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The PARK den is located at 45411 Jewel Ave. and hours are Mondays and Fridays from noon to 8 p.m., and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. They accept cash only in the store.
You can also shop online at www.publicaffiliationofrecklesskids.com. Check them out via social media on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. More info: firstname.lastname@example.org, Max: 604-845-5139, Lucas: 604-316-9159.
Their promo video (above) already has more than 10,000 views on YouTube.