Tactics was the brainchild of two young attorneys and like-minded outdoor and sports friends over 20 years ago in Eugene Oregon. Seeing that their “day” jobs might not be all that inspiring and being sports and outdoor junkies, they followed their muse in the wild west early days of e-commerce when they all chipped in $5000 to try selling snowboards on-line in 1998. Thinking they could do this “part-time” they soon hit reality and realized a full commitment was necessary to establish a brand to ride the early wave of on-line sales which allowed them to leverage limited resources smartly in the early days to get their business off the ground.
“We created an identity and carved out a space in the Internet world before a lot of bigger competitors that were essentially brick and mortar. We were able to bootstrap an e-commerce retail business and were able to cut our teeth in a less competitive environment which did not require huge capitalization that it requires now” says Matt Patton, president and one of the main founders or what became known as Tactics.
Fast forward and growth has been steady with smart diversification into the growing skate and complementary lifestyle shoes and clothing to where they now have a 30,000 sf warehouse/HQ in Eugene and retail store in both Bend and Eugene, plus having the rare boast of being profitable every year. But they always had their eyes on Portland.
“We have always wanted and needed to have a presence in Portland but it had to be the right place and time and I think we have found that” I was able to connect with Matt and his team last year to think through some Portland possibilities that fit with their culture and designs for the biggest market in Oregon.
Initially Tactics was thinking of a retail showroom along with some warehousing to do some of their internet fulfillment out of Portland and looked hard at a 10,000 sf building in Portland’s cool and growing Central Eastside. After some serious thinking, the costs and investment just seemed to “not feel right” so they backed away and went back to the drawing board, where a smaller more retail focused location in a vibrant and established neighborhood just seemed to make more sense.
With a new strategy, we were able to review half a dozen retail spaces with an industrial feel in the core area and one space in the Pearl at 9th and Davis stood out. The location was good on the edges of the Pearl and it had a vacating home furnishings store and the space was in great shape in a classic older vintage former vintage industrial building with high ceilings, a loading door and a warm feel. A big plus was the great owners who used to own venerated hardware store Winks Hardware, which had been at this spot for decades before moving to the Central Eastside. They bought into Tactics vision and rent was extremely reasonable for the trendy Pearl District.
Being an outdoor junkie myself, Matt and Adam at Tactics were a joy to work with and really “get it”. Another thing I love is how Tactics has a really great “give back” and community culture as they have for years supported fundraisers to support services for youth and raised money for a skate park in Eugene and often sell apparel to raise money for non-profit environmental causes. Tactics will open for biz in July… go check them out!!
“We were fortunate to find Todd as we began the process. Todd knows Portland and is easy to work with. After getting close to the finish line on a lease, we decided to move on and restart our search. Todd supported our decision and stayed with us, continuing to investigate and present options as they came along. Nearly one year later, with Todd’s help, we did cross the finish line on an even better space (at an even better rate).” Matt Patton; Co-founder of Tactics.