It’s 1981 and skateboarding is dead. How dead? Tony Hawk is cashing monthly royalty checks for 83 cents. But Kevin Harris is a skateboard freak and skating’s pathetic popularity only energized his determination to spread the word of four-wheeled fun. The Canadian freestyle champion spent over 45 weekends of the year demoing in shopping malls and paid his way to California contests, placing so high that he earned a spot on Powell Peralta’s Bones Brigade and was eventually ranked second in the world.
Not only was Kevin rewarded with his own pro model, but in 1985 Powell offered him their Canadian distribution rights. Kevin’s passion and relationships with other skaters in the industry quickly made Ultimate Skateboard Distribution the largest skateboard distributor in Canada.
By 1986, Ultimate was distributing the industry’s top ten brands. “Those relationships have been there for 30 years,” Kevin says looking back. “All of our big distribution accounts came from personal relationships built through the downtime in skating. We were all there together when there wasn’t mainstream money or respect in it.”
In 1991, Kevin started Concrete Skateboarding Magazine (formerly Concrete Powder Magazine), Canada’s first skate and snow mag. Concrete was a free magazine focusing on the Canadian scene and local shredders. Ultimate then started the Richmond Skate Ranch, the first indoor park, scouted for brands, supplied product/flights/photo incentives to local talent and sponsored local events and contests.
Kevin realized the market was so large that Ultimate needed to expand, opening up an Eastern branch in Ontario in 1993.
In 2001, Brad Richmond and Sean Johnson (two childhood friends) founded Wick Winder. By using a less-is-more approach to distribution, they focused all of their efforts on marketing and promoting a smaller selection of handpicked brands which they believed in. This more individual approach allowed them to fine-tune sales & marketing strategies, working more intimately with their accounts. With a broad range of accounts and a national network of sales reps covering all of Canada, Wick Winder was able to take care of all distribution needs, large or small.
After years of working closely together, Kevin Harris and Brad Richmond realized they could pool their efforts into one company, bringing an arsenal of skate, snow, surf and lifestyle brands under one roof creating Canada’s largest action sports distribution company. “Both companies have always strived to provide a great level of service”, says Brad Richmond. “By synergizing our business operations and sales staff together we fully intend to take things to the next level”. With a combined sales force of over 14 independent and in-house staff operating from a fully renovated 12,500 square foot warehouse selling to over 600 assorted retail accounts across Canada, Ultimate Distribution is committed to bringing its customers the absolute best brands and level of customer service. “This is something the two companies have talked about for a long time”, says Kevin Harris. “I own Ultimate and I have been a part-owner of Wick Winder since 2004. Brad and I have talked openly for years on the concept of merging the two companies and we both felt that the timing was right”.
100% skater owned and operated
Canada’s first action sports distributor
Supports over 100 skateboard events a year
Scouting and supporting local talent
Expand skateboarding exposure through skate camps, school projects, free skate lessons.
Advertise in Canadian Magazines
Donated more than $450,000 to various skate parks.