For one Denver longboard manufacturer, Ruby Hill is the new RiNo.
In September KOTA longboards rolled into a new production facility and showroom at 1400 S. Lipan St. – the site of a former sign-printing warehouse.
KOTA owner Mike Maloney said KOTA will buy the building in a deal scheduled to close by the end of the year.
The formerly RiNo-based longboard company was out of space at 3440 Walnut Street. Now it can put an office, designing space, production facility and showroom under the same roof for the first time.
“We can co-locate everything, we have plenty of room to scale, and we’re really excited about what’s happening in the Ruby Hill neighborhood,” Maloney said.
KOTA’s new headquarters is a 7,700-square-foot warehouse with 5,000 feet of factory floor space. The company moved in shortly after Labor Day, Maloney said, and is looking to double its production over the next year.
The site search spanned pretty much all of the greater Denver area. Maloney said the kind of light manufacturing space he needed hasn’t been easy or inexpensive to buy or rent, but the Lipan Street building came with most all of the equipment KOTA needed to make its longboards.
He estimated outfitting the former sign printing factory would cost less than a quarter of what KOTA might have spent in tenant improvements at other spaces it checked out.
Maloney also liked the location in Ruby Hill, a short walk from the planned Levitt Pavilion amphitheater scheduled to open next year.
“The hot neighborhood is RiNo and the next up-and-coming neighborhood seems to be Sun Valley near Mile High, but the prices in that neighborhood are already elevated,” Maloney said. “So we kind of looked in the next neighborhood south along that Santa Fe corridor.”
Real Estate Consultants of Colorado brokers Liz Leder and Alex Becker handled the site search for KOTA.
Maloney, a former Navy fighter pilot, founded KOTA in 2012. The brand sells a full line of longboards, hats, tees, a wall hanging kit and a skate tool on its website.
With plenty of extra room, KOTA is shifting its focus to finding new ways to sell more of them.
Maloney is aiming to reach to riders anywhere from between 20 and 30 years old all the way up to retirees, noting that his products cater to a different demographic than the younger riders that buy typical, more compact skateboards.
He’s targeting high-end gear shops.
“Because we’re going after this new market the retailers we’re trying to get our products into are specialty, action sports retailers,” he said. “They don’t typically stock a board product, and it’s been slow but we are now gaining more and more retailers.”
The brand is also getting its name out by making products with other company logos on them. KOTA has done work with Vail Resorts, making co-branded boards for ski mountains like Kirkwood and Northstar.
KOTA is also going to make a limited run board for Oakley sunglasses that Maloney said will get the longboard brand in front of the shades giant’s 4 million-plus followers on Facebook.