Earlier this year, we wrote an article on Newts’ co-owner, Lori Wright, because we saw the commitment this shop had to its local community (and because we just adore Lori W). When the news surfaced that Newts would have to close their doors after almost 30 years of operation, it hit us and the local shred and skate community hard! Since then, there has been an outpouring of love towards the shop that gave so much to so many. A snow season without Newts? That is a tough and shocking reality to deal with. Their support has helped further the local skate and snow scene in numerous ways. They have endlessly supported women’s progression in snowboarding and committed themselves ferociously to sponsoring female-based events, whether it was the Mamma Jamma Rail Jam, the Burton Fashion show that supported causes such as Boarding for Breast Cancer or if it was just throwing some swag to the local girls’ end-of-season “Queen of the Mountain” event; they were always zealous to show women that they mattered in sports. And now, walking into a once thriving store and seeing it almost empty brings a wave of mixed emotions – on one hand, you’re happy for the good times that were had, but on the other, it’s hard to foresee a future without Newts. As with any change, uncertainty of what the future holds is always present. Boise will still have rad local shops such as Prestige and The Boardroom and they will be here to offer their support and goods to the community. Although right now it feels like the wind has been knocked out of us, we are still happy for the wonderful times and contributions that Newts offered to so many.
Here are some voices from the community who wanted to share their thanks and/or thoughts about the impact Newts made. As you read along, twist off the top of that brown-bagged Olde English and pour it out in memory of a shop, whom without a doubt, loved their community.
“In the late 90’s and early 00’s, Nampa didn’t have a local shop. Newt’s really made a positive impression on my brothers and I by being the first Boise shop to seriously sponsor skaters from Canyon County.” -Mark Pemble
“It seems like Newt and Harold’s has always been a huge part of the snowboard and skate scene here in Boise. They were the first to go standing sideways specific and went all in with all the best gear and service imaginable. But more than that they always worked to keep prices down and help get as many people on boards as possible. Their support of local contests and riders seems impossible to replace. Newts will be sorely missed around these parts for a very long time.” -Jeff Tulloch
“The first snowboard I purchased at Newts was in 1993; 20 years and 16 snowboards later I can say I feel like every one of those snowboards was purchased from a good friend. Every time I walked into the shop I was greeted with a handshake, a high five or my favorite, a hug. It feels like I have lost that friend, not like passed away lost because I know I will see Lori and Lori as well as all the other great people who have worked there over the years, but lost like they moved to Texas and I don’t go to Texas.” -Dustin Johnson
“I am forever grateful for all they have pioneered and fostered in the local snow community. Shops of that caliber are hard to come by. I really don’t know where I am going to get all my gear now. Most of all, I’m going to miss visiting with Lori W., she’s so amazing! I hope this means we will run into her on the snow more often. We will feel their absence greatly. I’m forever grateful for all they have done.” -Sarah Thompson
“I am so grateful to the Lori’s for giving our community of snowboarders and skateboarders a positive environment. It has influenced the foundation of lifelong friendships, artists, and young people that have gone on to be well-respected business professionals and even fostering our other local shops like Prestige and The Boardroom. I have had the good fortune to work with Lori Wright on the board of directors for The Boise Skateboard Association. The passion and love that she has given to this community is nothing less than inspirational to me. I will never be able to thank them enough for what they have given to us.” -Josh Davis
“My first trip to Newt & Harold’s happened only a few weeks after I first moved to Idaho and I was lucky enough to have met Lori Wright during that first visit to the store. I am so grateful to Lori and the entire Newts family for being so welcoming to me and introducing me to the local shred community. The friends I made through Newts and the support I received from the shop over the 5 years I rode for them made for some of my best experiences in snowboarding.” -Tucker Silva
“I feel honored to have been a part of such an amazing shop for the last decade! It is one of those “true to this” type shops. Newts will be forever missed, as it has not only shaped who I am as a person but also the snowboarder today! Cheers to everyone who has contributed to such an amazing institution of shred throughout the last 30 years!!!” -Ben Woodard
“Newts has been a staple in my life since I was in sixth grade, first learning to skate and snowboard. It was so cool as a young kid to have a community spot that always had the latest videos on, a giant couch and friendly people that were hyped on boarding. There was never any pressure to buy things but if you needed help or knowledge with anything, they were there to help. The Lori’s and all the employees I got to know over the years came to be my best friends. I started going in when Brandon and Ben were just starting with MaryAnn and Erin. Then from there, Charlie, Evan, Markos and everyone else just always made it feel rad. Newts would put on events of their own but also be down to be a part in collaboration events. Seeing that always made it clear that they had the community in mind when doing things and that always seemed right. Newts has had a solid run of things and I’m so grateful for everything I’ve been afforded by the generosity of the humans that made that place. And moving forward, I’m sure there will be new endeavors and shops to come. Boise is lucky to have Newts to look at as reference as to how to do it right by the community.” -AJ Ogden
“First and foremost, I am so proud of what the Lori’s have accomplished as business owners and members of this community. 30 years! That is huge in its own right but to have turned their business into one of the largest snow and skate shops in the NW from a small Sports Exchange shop is truly amazing! I first went to Newts after reading an ad in the old local zine’ “Blunt” (not the big snowboard mag), it said “skateboards for sale, call Rob.” At this time in Boise there was not a shop anywhere to buy a skateboard, not even the mall, nothing! So I call Rob and he says he is now selling skateboards at “the Sports Exchange.” That summer we spent a crazy amount of time there and it was cool to have a small skate shop within a store. It blows me away that now, 25 plus years later, they became a landmark. As a former Newts shop kid, team rider, employee, contest volunteer, etc…I really want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything Lori Wright and Lori Ambur have done for this community, and more personally, for me and my family.” -Corey McDonald
We know there are many more who will deeply miss the influence and presence of such rad local shop. One thing we can all learn from this is to shop LOCAL. Support the shops that are helping to grow your community. As we queue Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”, we want to leave you with a little note from us at the mag: “Thank you, Newts for your constant support and dedication to the local community. We hope you ladies close the doors knowing how successful you were – not only in business but also in encouraging, inspiring and progressing the local skate and snow scene. Thank you for believing in the scene and we hope all the best for both of you and everyone else who contributed to Newts’ success!”
Make sure to stop into Newts during these last days to say your personal thanks and make a few purchases while you’re in there – everything is currently up to 50% off but things are going fast, so get in there while the gettin’ is good. Also, on Friday, September 5th they are having their closing party. The party kicks off at 6pm. At 7pm, they will be auctioning off items from the store, with all the proceeds going to benefit the Rhodes Skatepark project, so make sure to come on by to have a drink and share some memories! Cheers to the 30 years we had you a part of our community!