What’s that....? Well after long debates with myself, I’ve decided to offer Prepaid Maintence. Kind of like a service plan but more fun and better savings. It’s part prepaid labor, part elite club, part secret handshake... There are a couple levels all with value added bonuses including product care packages featuring vendors I carry. The higher the level the better the perks only available to the select group. Call it a membership, call it a good deal, call it what you want. I dont know if you are like myself but I kind of dig having something not many others have.. Similar to my challenge coins. Go take a look, they are currently in my online store and available for purchase. The “cards” are for labor only. Parts and accessories will be billed separately.
I’m happy to report that San Diego is back to 65-70 degree weather. The best weather for riding a bike in my opinion. Gone are the sweaty sleepless nights, the unbearable sweaty bike repairs, the 3 liters of water mountain bike rides... Perfect temps. Hey, I’m not rubbing it in.. I’m just extremely excited that I can wear hoodies again.
Fall, autumn whatever you want to call it.. It’s always been my favorite season. In Kentucky it was the time of the year that the leaves changed color from green to yellows and oranges. There was a scent in the air that was warm and comforting. In San Diego it’s when the locals come out of their hibernation and poke their sunburned faces out to smell fresh air. The beaches aren’t filled with lost Arizonans. I dont know about you but I cant wait to get outside and soak it up on my bike.
Upcoming projects & events
- I’m finalizing colors on another run of Castelli jersey’s. These will be part of my “Separates” Collection. Both jersey’s will be Castelli’s latest offering called the “Podio”. It’s a mix of features from the “Team” jersey and the “Aero Race” jersey. I’ll be offering a light colored jersey and a more subtle design as well. I’ll be rerunning the Navy bibs that were introduced with my first set of jersey’s.
- After months and months of putting it off, I’ve decided to leave town for a few days. Visit some friends up north, close the store for 2 days and unplug. I’ve got to do it. Time to take care of Gordon a little. The shop will be closed Monday November 13th & Tuesday November 14th, back open at normal hours on Thursday November 16th.
- Planning to organize a couple casual rides starting in late November including my locally-world famous night ride & bike4beers...
Big isn't always better. Remember when RV's were the dream adventure vehicle? Now everyone wants an outfitted Sprinter van. Remember when the station wagon's were all being sold off only to be replaced by enormous SUV's, now the roads are filled with micro cars, electric vehicles and smaller SUV's. There's even a movement called "Tiny Houses". Tiny Houses are generally built using storage containers, utilizing a resource that's ever growing. I dont need a lot of space. Velo Hangar was started in my garage 7 years ago. Yes, when the shop was in Solana Beach the space was larger but that was necessity not want. For those of you who have been inside my apartment, very few of you btw, it's a cozy small space. So when I started dreaming up the next version of Velo Hangar one necessity that kept creeping in was "Small Space".
The idea of a Storage Container Shop was born. The idea was actually spurred on by my friend Scott Defilipis a year or so earlier. He was looking into buying some land and building a multi-use property. I was intrigued. So when a friend and I visited Steady State Roasting back in May of last year and I signed a lease for some dirt, I knew I needed to buy a container. I cant tell you how many people ask me on a daily basis "where do you buy a container?".. There actually everywhere. They come in lots of sizes, shapes & colors. I had to decide what I wanted and what would fit in my space. I decided on a 20' HC (High Cube). Not as popular, which makes it more difficult to find and even more difficult to find used so I knew the price was going to be higher as well.
All this mind you is not in my wheelhouse... I'm a bicycle mechanic. I've been a bicycle mechanic for 26 years. Construction, even as basic as it was, is not my forte. So breaking out of my shell and coordinating gravel deliveries, container shipment, buying materials and planning construction was daunting to say the least. One thing that helped the process go way easier, In July when I signed the lease I opened a GoFundMe page. I've always run the business as community owned. The space is just as much for you to enjoy as it is for me to work. So with the amazing support I received from the campaign I was able to start the project. The container was delivered September 2nd and the fun began...
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...
And just like that the Holidays are here..! Holy cow the last 2 months have flown by. Sooo happy with my new location. Thanks you for all the support, emotionally, monetarily and mentally!!
The shop is really coming along. My next project is to build a deck off the west side of the container. Still in design mode but I plan to start construction in mid January. Wood construction is not in my tool chest so I'm probably over thinking it. Sounds about right... I'll have a few chairs and a table outside for people to hang out on. Who knows maybe even a bench. Anyway excited to have it one step closer...
I've brought in a few new products for sale. I picked up RXbar which I'm somewhat addicted to. I first bought one at a local grocery on my way to a mountain bike ride. Great taste, easy to digest and a perfect little meal replacement bar. They sell for $2.99 (2 for $5) per bar and come in 9 flavors. I've also brought back Enduro Bites. I missed them.. I sold these tasty fig based bars in the Solana location. The bars are now 2 bites per bar but still 100 calories a bite. I've brought in Dark Chocolate/Fig, Blueberry/Cinnamon & Cranberry/Lemon. These are also $2.99 per bar. I now have a full lineup of Vittoria Road tires including the Corsa G+, New Rubino Pro G+ & Rubino Control G+. I have King Titanium & Steel water bottle cages in stock now as well.
As far as apparel goes I just received my order of Stealth t-shirts & hoodies! THe stealth t-shirt was the first design I offered 6 years ago. Originally it was a black blank with clear ink on the front. Over the years I've grown fond of Next Level blanks so I've switched all my t-shirts to them. This new batch are Vintage Black crew neck for men and a Heather Grey V-neck for the ladies. These t-shirts are sooo soft and wont shrink, the perfect combo. They are $20 and available in the online store and at my Carlsbad Village location.
The hoodies I brought in are similar to the blank I brought in awhile back but I went with a mid weight this time. It's not as thick and bulky as the heavyweight version. These are Navy Blue with Navy drawstrings. The logo on the front is mainly Orange & Light Blue with my signature strip up the "L". These are in Men's sizing and they run a touch large, I'd size down. Priced at $55 and also available in the online store and in store.
So I'll be leaving town for a few days over the holidays. The shop will be closed Friday 12/23 through Monday 12/26. I'll back in the shop Tuesday 12/27 possibly with bells on... So if you are looking for some last minute gifts come see me before next Thursday...!
Although I had great success with the Holiday Toy Party last year. I'm going to postpone the Holiday party till January so we can all detox from the hundreds of party's during December. Thinking some sort of BBQ/Beer Crawl/fire pit/Cornhole Tourney... More on that later!