James Whitner to Open a Black-Owned Skate Park and APB Store in New North Carolina Development

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Uplifting the Black community has long been at the center of The Whitaker Group’s mission. That mission is evolving with The Collective on Tuckaseegee, a new development in North Carolina.

This summer, The Whitaker Group — the James Whitner-founded parent company of retailers A Ma Maniére, Social Status, APB and Prosper — will open a development in Charlotte’s historic West Side. It will span 13,000 square feet and feature 10 retail units.

According to The Whitaker Group, The Collective on Tuckaseegee was “designed to nurture and invigorate the predominantly Black enclave” of the Enderly Park neighborhood “through community collaboration,” and “foster economic growth and cultural enrichment.” It was described by the company as a “community-driven complex” that will “blend local businesses with leading cultural brands” to create “a dynamic hub for commerce and community engagement.”

The Collective on Tuckaseegee, James Whitner, The Whitaker Group
The Collective on Tuckaseegee.

Speaking with FN, Whitner said the reason for choosing this specific neighborhood for a development project was simple: “It’s one of ours.”

“We wanted this to be something for the community and not something taken over by private equity or more condo development,” Whitner told FN. “We had the opportunity to buy it and redevelop it, and this is what you’re seeing now.”

The development will include both emerging local businesses as well as a new APB store, dubbed APB Charlotte. What’s more, The Whitaker Group will introduce a skate park within the development. The Whitaker Group touted the skate park as the first “privately held, Black-owned, publicly accessible non-DIY skate park in the United States.”

“APB hasn’t had a presence in Charlotte, and we wanted to explore skate as a new opportunity,” Whitner said. “Black people have been part of skate forever, but specifically in Charlotte and in our communities, there aren’t dedicated skate areas or skate parks. Instead of doing basketball or sports that we traditionally have access to, we thought it would be a good opportunity to invest in skate park as a part of the development, and also launch APB Skate. And because Charlotte is our home, it was easy to bring it all together.”

The Collective on Tuckaseegee, The Whitaker Group, APB, James Whitner
The skate park inside The Collective on Tuckaseegee.

The skate park was developed with skateboarding facility design and construction firm Boardr and will provide programming through APB’s social impact platform APB You, including after-school lessons, trick tutorials and events tailored for youth, women and families.

Also, the APB Charlotte store will offer an in-house apparel program inspired by the skate community.

Although this skate park is the first from The Whitaker Group, Whitner confirmed it won’t be the last. “This is the start of a skate journey that you will see through the lens of APB and everything APB You stands for, especially as it connects with HBCUs around the country,” he said.

The Whitaker Group will reveal the skate park within The Collective on Tuckaseegee on June 21, which is Go Skate Day. Following the reveal, there will be a week of programming for the skate park, as well as celebrations culminating with the APB Music live event and block party at the complex June 28-29.

Looking ahead, Whitner promised more development projects that are aligned with The Whitaker Group’s community-focused mission.

“This is an evolution of how we see the world. If you’ve ever started anything, you start, you learn and then you ask yourself, ‘What is the best thing to do for the purpose or the mission that you serve?’ For us, to really meaningfully create opportunity, we’ve got to create space,” Whitner said. “You can expect to see more development projects. I’ve been vocal about us investing over the last three years, we’ve been working on 11 projects over the last three years, and now the world is starting to see those projects come out.”

He continued, “The world will start to see a bit more of what The Whitaker Group stands for. Before, we’ve been known for doing a lot of collaboration projects and just being a voice and telling Black stories, but I think it’s super important for us to start building meaningful infrastructure, not just in North America, but around the world.”

Cities where Whitner and The Whitaker Group will introduce development projects include Detroit, Baltimore, Atlanta, Harlem, N.Y., and Pittsburgh. Also, although sparse on details, Whitner said The Whitaker Group will soon introduce “a new brand concept,” and with that concept there will be two flagship stores.

About the Author

Peter Verry is the Senior News and Features Editor for Athletic and Outdoor at Footwear News. He oversees coverage of the two fast-paced and ultracompetitive markets, which includes conducting in-depth interviews with industry leaders and writing stories on sneakers and outdoor shoes. He is a lifelong sneaker addict (and shares his newest purchases via @peterverry on Instagram) and spends most of his free time on a trail. He holds an M.A. in journalism from Hofstra University and can be reached at peter.verry@footwearnews.com.

Launch Gallery: James Whitner to Open The Collective on Tuckaseegee With a Skate Park and APB Store: Photos

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