Rediscover Yarra is a council-led initiative to profile and highlight the great diversity of places to shop, eat and socialise across our community. We’re telling the story of Yarra businesses, showcasing what they do and what’s special about owning and operating a business in our local community.
“Community for me is this mix of people and places that all make up a picture. Everyone is involved with making that picture whole and we all have a part to play. Richmond is the epitome of this.
After moving to Australia from Canada in 1997, Jamie found love, life and business on Bridge Road in Richmond. What started out as a gap year to experience and enjoy Australian culture ended with him meeting his partner and relocating permanently.
“I have always loved Richmond and Bridge Rd from way back in the day when we used to start a Saturday night off at Spargo’s.” Jamie said, “The Richmond community and how they always get behind local businesses, whether its COVID or not, is always incredible.”
This love of the area was a key reason he set up Twelve Boards in 2013. Twelve Boards is a retail store on Bridge Road that specialises in snowboards, skateboards, longboards and electric skateboards. Beyond the boards themselves, Twelve Boards also has a key focus on skate culture. From gear to clothes to accessories Twelve Boards has become a hub for novices and pros alike to come together and bond over what they love.
From the store’s opening in 2013, Jamie always wanted his store to feel friendly and inviting, whether someone was a skater or not. “A Twelve Boards customer can be anyone”, he said “we wanted to set up our store so no matter if you were into boards or not, it was a place you wanted to come into even its just to look at all the amazing artwork on the boards.
This welcoming environment has helped Jamie and his team develop the next generation of skaters and adrenaline junkies.
“[Kids] getting a first skateboard is always cool. Selling electric skateboards to folks who have mobility issues is awesome as these things become game changers for them. Setting up snowboarders for years of adventures ahead” he said “Really every sale is awesome. No matter what we are always grateful for people coming into our store”.
These loyal customers continued when the pandemic began. Through a continued focus on building their website and online brand, the store moved from a traditional retail outlet to an online warehouse which allowed Jamie to keep all his staff throughout the year.
With the online platform booming, Jamie and his team also wanted to ensure there was an opportunity for those one-on-one moments with the board enthusiasts of Yarra and set up an online booking platform that allowed them to come into the store. “This way, we limited people [in store] but had a full calendar of people who booked to come and buy something.”
Through COVID and beyond, Jamie and the team at Twelve Boards have remained grateful for the streets of Richmond and the City of Yarra for their continued support.
“I don’t think anybody realises just how much of a difference it makes whether it’s your local café, pub, grocery store or skate shop.” he said “Thanks for all the love and support everyone. It has been a heavy year but no place I would rather have a business than right where we are.”
Now, after a difficult year, Twelve Boards is in the early days of planning their second store. After much debate over location, Jamie and his team knew it was important to stay loyal to the community who had supported them. So, it was decided the new store would remain in the heart of Yarra on Bridge Road and strengthen skate culture in the city even further.