Thank you to all of the customers over the years and everyone that has helped us get to where we are today. Below are some interview excerpts that detail who we are and what we do.
'When Mark Zitzer and his family moved from Arizona to Milwaukee in the early '80s, they were disappointed in the lack of skateboarding shops. In 1985, when Mark was 15, his parents, James and Priscilla, opened a skateboarding / snowboarding / BMX shop on Milwaukee's East Side called Rad Sports, 2224 N. Farwell Ave. In 1993, the family changed the name to Phase 2. Mark and his brother, Paul, started boarding as young children. Neither of their parents are skateboarders, but were extremely supportive of their sons' sport of choice and decided to open a store that could accommodate their needs. When they opened the shop, Mark worked in the shop every night after attending high school all day. Today, he is the co-owner of the company. Paul skated professionally from 1993 until 2003, currently writes for The Skateboard Mag and is a commentator for the Dew Tour, NBC's version of the X Games. After a few years in business, Phase 2 phased out BMX and snowboarding equipment. Instead, the family-owned shops specialize solely in skateboards, clothing, hats and accessories. The most popular brand names fluctuate, but currently, the most coveted boards are made by Antihero, Almost, Baker, Element, Girl, Chocolate and Toy Machine. Top-selling skater clothing companies include Krew, Altamont and Matix. "Basically, we have everything you need to partake in skateboarding culture," says Brian Alland, an employee at Phase 2."
Few people stay at the same job for 25 years anymore, let alone hold the identical position they had as a teenager. Mark Zitzer, however, is an exception - and he wouldn't have it any other way. In 1986, the then 15-year-old high school sophomore went into business with his mother and brother, opening a skateboard shop in Milwaukee. Today, Zitzer owns two stores, the newest one being Phase II Clothing & Skateboards, located on West Bluemound Road in Brookfield. "My brother and I grew up riding skateboards, so our mother thought having a small store built around skateboards would help us learn about business," said Zitzer, whose mother, Priscilla, along with his wife, Ingrid, handle the administrative end of the business. His brother, Paul, a former professional skateboarder, now writes for skateboarding magazines. While the recent economic downturn has hit his industry hard, Zitzer said, Phase II remains a key player in the local retail skateboarding scene - a feat he attributes to his businesses' specialty-shop reputation. "We carry merchandise outside the mainstream that stores in the mall don't stock," he said of his selection that includes skateboards, longboards, shoes and clothing. "Typically, new skateboard riders will start by buying their gear from mall skateboard shops, but then when they become more serious about the sport, they'll switch to shopping at our store because they learn that we don't carry the same old stuff that the malls do. Customers really appreciate our customized accessories, repair work and on-site assembly while they wait." Zitzer said Phase II has not contended with a sluggish economy and a swarm of competition. Still, he's confident about his stores' staying power. "Skateboarding will never go away," he said. "It's a lifestyle, a culture, among the people who are really passionate about it - and those are our loyal customers who have stayed with us through thick and thin."