When making the drive to 3101 Kintzley Court in Laporte, it’s easy to feel like you’re entering another world.
The trip puts you closer to the foothills, away from downtown Fort Collins and feels like an escape from the demands of campus.
Here lies 728 Outdoor, a local eco-friendly snowboard shop that employs a dozen CSU students and specializes in custom boards made of bamboo.
“It’s a little off the beaten path,” said Brandon Wooldridge, manager and facilitator. “But that’s what makes it worth it.”
728 Outdoor was founded by former Fort Collins resident, Nick Kintzley, at the original address of 728 Maple Street in the heart of Fort Collins. As the city grew, the property became split up and the address disappeared. The name lives on through the company and those who keep the memory of Maple Street alive.
“728 is kind of a tribute to that property and that family that has been such an integral part of Fort Collins for such a long time,” said Wooldridge, a senior Liberal Arts major.
Kintzley currently resides in Shanghai, China and oversees creative ideas and production of the snowboards while Wooldridge and others handle day-to-day operations here at home.
“It gives an opportunity for CSU students to really get some hands-on experience in the industry and learn about something they really care about,” Wooldridge said.
Many members of the team here at CSU are also members of the snowboard team and have a real passion for snowboarding and the camaraderie that comes with it.
One such member is senior mechanical engineering major, Josh Gladfelter, who was first exposed to the 728 family last year when he was shopping around for a new snowboard after his broke.
“I had a friend tell me that I needed to buy one of these boards and I was a little skeptical at first, but I got my board and rode it and I’ve been in love ever since,” Gladfelter said.
With his engineering knowledge Gladfelter is working on the technical aspects of the business, including analyzing the snowboards and how they function on the mountain.
Another team member is Ryan DeAngelis, a sophomore wildlife biology major, who is working on marketing for the company.
“I just thought it was a great opportunity to work for a great local company with a great message,” DeAngelis said.
While 728 Outdoor is a snowboard company, they also use their products to promote the idea of being eco-friendly.
The custom-made boards are made from bamboo, which is the fastest-growing wood product in the world and often has to be thinned to prevent overpopulation. Where the excess would normally be disposed of, 728 comes in and turns it into something a customer can use for years. Even the apparel in the shop is made from 100 percent bamboo fiber.
“We’re taking that overabundance of bamboo and turning it into a really awesome product,” Wooldridge said. “We’ve integrated it into all of our products and in that sense it really goes along with CSU’s mission of being a green university.”
Connection with the CSU community is a huge priority at 728 Outdoor and is a driving force behind the launch of a new student lounge at the shop on Kintzley Court on November 4th.
“The idea of having a student lounge has been around from the very beginning,” Wooldridge said. “We want to provide a space where students can come and relax or study after a long day of classes, work, or whatever it may be.”
728 snowboards exceed industry standards and can be compared to the biggest and most successful snowboard companies out there. But when these “little snowboarder guys,” as Gladfelter referred to the employees, and their products really take off, Wooldridge hopes things like the student lounge will keep the company close to home.
According to Wooldridge, it’s important for the company to stay in touch with the Fort Collins community — the place they’ve called home from day one.
“I want to provide a place for those students to come and feel like part of the 728 family,” he said.
The student lounge will be open to all new family members from 4-10 p.m. Monday the 4th.
Collegian Campus Beat Reporter McKenna Ferguson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.