Ramping Up

Valley-born-and-raised friends join forces to create the hottest skate shop in town.

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    Olivia Pepper •

You feel it immediately. Step inside Primitive, and you’ll detect a palpable vibe of casual cool. When you discover that the shop is co-owned by pro-skateboarder Paul Rodriquez, it becomes crystal clear why it’s become a hipster magnet for young men—from the Valley and beyond.

“I was that boy,” 26-year-old Paul quips while watching a “tween” scan the long shelves of Nike SBs in the footwear section. “I’ve always loved skate shoes.” When Nike offered Rodriguez a sponsorship, his good buddy Andy Netkin, who helped put Paul on his first skate team back in the 90s, had a eureka moment.

“I’d known Paul since he was 13. We’d always talked about opening up a store. I thought, now we have the resources!” Paul brought the marquis name and Nike products, and Andy, who’d worked at 118 Skate Shop in Granada Hills, brought the retail “know-how.” Two other longtime Valley pals, Jubal Jones and Jay Partow, contributed business savvy and investment money to the partnership. “It just kind of made sense,” Paul remarks.

If four 20-something pals who all grew up in the Valley, work and hang out together feels a bit like a real-life Entourage, Paul confirms, at times it is. “Yeah, it’s a bit too much fun sometimes”,  he chuckles. In case you’re wondering, Paul is the son of the comedian (with the same name).  He’s also an alum of Birmingham High School.

Primitive offers a unique selection of merchandise—with newer, unusual labels like Crook & Castles and Diamond Supply Company. “But our primary focus is on great footwear,” Andy explains. “You’ll find shoes here that you won’t see elsewhere on the Boulevard.” They’ve developed their own Primitive line of T-shirts and hats and hope to offer more.

The efforts toward boosting the brand seem to be working. Andy recalls the recent visit of an out-of-town couple. “They came to LA just to come to Primitive and then went straight back home.” As he sees it, “By offering everything we grew up loving, we aspired to create a feeling of being owned and operated by skaters. I think we’re doing that.”

Primitive | 17060 Ventura Blvd. in Encino | 818-479-7171 | primitiveshoes.com