This past week I had the chance to go visit the Kayo flagship store off Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, California. Fairfax Avenue is a highly regarded street when it comes to flagship stores for very popular skateboard and streetwear brands. With brands like Diamond Supply Co., Supreme, and Crooks & Castles all having stores on the same block you could say having a piece of Fairfax real estate is pretty prestigious.
Kayo’s store is the biggest on the block. Equipped with teller windows and a functioning vault containing bricks of gold that may or may not be real, it was originally a bank that has since been converted into a premium retail outlet designed to showcase quality goods from all the Kayo brands including Organika, Expedition, DGK and Gold Wheels. As soon as you walk through the front door you notice the real skate shop vibe. Local kids lurking, loud music, super laid back environment, team riders in and out and the latest skate videos being projected onto the wall from the upstairs. No elitist or condescending vibes from any of the employees either, despite the daily parade of star-studded clientele; Ghost Face Killa of the Wu-Tang Clan was cruisin’ through the store while I was there. The shop guys rip, too! The upstairs area is reserved for art galleries and parties held by the Kayo family, like the Brian Lotti x Organika release party. Oh, and OG New York City legend, Vinny Ponte, runs the store like a boss. Do your homework, kids. The icing on the cake for the Kayo store is the fact that they were able to acquire some truly priceless skateboarding relics…like two original LOVE park benches that they house in the garage of the store and are available to skate during store hours.
Kayo has deep roots in the east coast skate game. With Stevie Williams behind DGK, Vinny Ponte running the store and numerous east coast OGs such as Quim Cardona, Joey Pepper, Josh Kalis, etc., riding for their companies, Kayo has really brought the East Coast feel to California. Taking a full day to hang out at the store, bullshit around with the employees, and skate the LOVE park benches really made me feel as if I were back home on the East Coast shootin’ dice and drinkin’ 40s with the boys. In an ocean of swag rats and sneakerheads, Kayo’s store brings the light back to the founding element behind all of this: skateboarding.