If you had told me 7 years ago that today I would have a Micro Repair Shop in Carlsbad Village I probably would have been excited to be honest.. I started hanging out in the repair shop of St. Matthews Schwinn & Fitness back in 1989 and eventually was hired. I was already talking to customers and most of them recognizing me from their last visit. So why not just give me a paycheck? I was hooked. My old service manager Tom Z gave me a box wheel off the shelf and had me dismantle it, then build it, then take it apart again and so on. I feel bad for the person that finally bought that wheel! From that point on I knew this was my calling. I always liked taking things apart, repairing and then reassembling.
A move to California in 1995 got me closer to where the bulk of the Industry was located. My dreams of my own shop had kindled over the past 5 years. I knew if I wanted to make a real go of it I needed more skill set. I had been fortunate enough to attend some training courses while at St. Matthews but there was so much more to learn...
After only 3 weeks in San Diego ( thanks to my Aunt and Uncle who invited me to stay with them in Oceanside) I landed a job at Nytro Multisports. A shop I had seen in magazines, with all the new shiny lightweight bits and bobs. It was a logical step, I knew id learn a lot. I'm not going to say it didn't go without any hitches. I think in every job you have you learn what to do and what not to do and if you can walk away from a job learn those then you are ahead of the game. I switched gears a bit in 1998 and went to work at Quintana Roo. Wanting to get some manufacturing/ vendor experience under my belt. Unfortunately it was at a time when they were going through some changes and they were eventually sold to Litespeed and moved to Tennessee.. I spent a little over a year and a half there. I made some incredible friendships, gained a wealth of knowledge and still had the dream. However I was laid off and didn't know the next step.
In 2000 I started working for a temp agency that was heavy handed in Bicycle industry jobs hoping for that next step... After 3 months waiting (almost landing a job at Oakley), I left the bike industry and took a temp job at BuyNow. BuyNow was part of the DotCom boom. Sparing you from all the acronyms, we basically built websites for manufacturers, ran them (order taking, tech support, etc) and fulfilled the orders through our partners. Maybe it wasn't part of the bike industry but I learned a lot about the internet. I learned a lot about order processing and even more about the backend fulfillment side of websites. I was missing bikes though.. I later took a weekend job at B&L Bikes. Working Sundays I got a little taste of the industry, kept my hand greasy if you will.
In 2005 I decided I needed to simplify my life a bit. The pay was ok, the commute (Leucadia to Irvine) was killing me and I didnt have any time to hang with friends. I decided to get back in and took a position at SockGuy in Carlsbad. The pay not as good, the commute was fantastic and I had time to actually ride my bike! I figured a year or so with SockGuy then wait for a mechanic position to open up at a shop, really I was only interested in working for B&L. A bunch of my friends worked at B&L including Scott Rittschof who at the time was the owner. Luckily a position opened up and I settled in. Fantastic times. Lots of fun, lots of stress, lots of frustration, lots of growth. That shop was the pinnacle on the coast. Made some lifelong friends (probably some enemies too). Anyhoo... In 2010 the shop was being sold. Specialized owned the shop and their first step was to trim the fat, namely Brandon Harris and I. Was this the push off I needed to start my own business? Yep. I was already playing with the idea. Brainstorming with my friend Jeff Rowe about business models, plans, goals,.. I had the name. I sold a few bikes to fund marketing items, produced some t-shirts, decals and proceeded to spread the word (My "Stealth" T-shirt was the first piece i produced).
Velo Hangar is so much more than I thought it could be. Not saying it hasn't been a rough ride, it has in many ways. Its what powers me though mentally, physically and monetarily of course. The support I've received from friends, family, other shops, vendors, everyone.. Has been huge. Without that constant positive energy I'm pretty sure VH wouldn't be where it is now. The latest incarnation of the shop, my Micro Repair Shop, in these short 3 months have been sooo good. I cant wait for everyone to come out and experience it. It's ever changing. It's a space for you to hang out during a ride, escape work, a place to avoid traffic on the way home..
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all that you do. You may not realize how much you energize me with your words, VH sightings, a simple wave... I can not thank you enough! I promise next update will be more bicycle centric.
Until next time...