Our Beginnings: New Products
Billy V. You're wanting to get active, but you're wanting to have fun while you're doing it. I've got the perfect place it's called Bikefactory it's on Ala Moana at Cooke St. We're talking to the owner and founder today Wally Parcels. Tell us a little about how the company got started.
Wally: Well, we had an early start. We started in 1966 we operated under the name Seaside Surf & Cycle. We grew into the name Bikefactory in 1974.
Billy: You seem to do have more than just bikes here, tell us a little bit more about how you expanded the business.
Wally: Well we call it action sports.
Billy: Is that a new buzz word?
Wally: Yes, it's buzz word. We have a slogan, "why walk when you can roll".
Billy: Tell us about some of the new items, you have a Razor, the Wave for street surfing. How would you go about finding these new items for your customers?
Wally: Well, it's fun. We go to the internet, we go to trade shows nationally and internationally, we have lots of contacts behind the scenes on those items that roll.
Billy: So you bring these ideas and these items to your customers here after you've gone to all these trade shows.
Wally: That's true. They vote with their wallets.
Billy: And your employees they are the perfect people to ask all the questions about these things?
Wally: We have the best employees, we have the best customers.
Billy: Now, in Hawaii sometimes the business environment changes, tell us a little about how you deal with the change in environment.
Wally: Just keeping our eyes open and again looking for those items that people really want to have for fun recreation.
Billy: And when they come in here is it just like Christmastime every time someone comes in the door?
Wally: Every day is Christmas!
Personal Toy box
Billy V.:You decide you want to get a bike, but you're not sure who to ask. I've got the perfect people for you. We're at Bikefactory where we're talking story with general manager Karl Brooks, you're also an active cyclist aren't you?
Karl: I ride my bike everyday I commute on it. I've been racing for 21 years now.
Billy: Now you're the general manager, how did you get started at Bikefactory?
Karl: I met Wally 10 years ago and it actually kind of blossomed to something of what it is right now. I started in shops over 21-22 years ago doing grunt work as everybody does.
Billy: Now as we are looking forward how do you see, what is your vision of the Bikefactory in the future.
Karl: I really see Bike Factory especially with Amendment 8 passing in this last election, I see the city of Honolulu, the state of Hawaii is going to be a much more bicycle friendly area. We have the environment to be the best in the world. Right now it's very marginal at best we can do a lot better. I think with Bike Factory's help and HBO's help we and a lot of work I think Honolulu can be one of the best areas to ride a bike in the world.
Billy: Well, you've got more than just bicycles here, how do you keep up with the latest trends of things coming out like razors?
Karl: Well, it all kind of initiates from the enthusiasm of our owner & our employees. Everybody in this store loves to do what they do. A lot of what we do in the store this is our personal toy box.
Billy: So the employees get to play with the toys become experts and divulge that information to people as they come in.
Karl: We try to divulge it as we're learning ourselves sometimes it makes it fun that way. You kind of learn together, it's a good way to do it.
Billy V: Imagine being able to touch all the new stuff before anybody else, being able to play with it and be the owner's son. Today we are talking to Mitch Parcel of Bikefactory, he is the action sport buyer. It must have been nuts growing up as the son of the owner and being able to touch all the new stuff.
Mitch: Definitely, we always had all the new stuff coming in so lots of things to play with.
Billy: Give me examples of some of the new stuff you've got in the Bikefactory.
Mitch: For this Christmas and summer the Wave has been pretty popular.
Billy: The wave is what?
Mitch: It's a two wheeled board with castors on it, rides unlike anything else. You can self perpetuate it.
Billy: Another item in the store that's new?
Mitch: Another thing that has been popular with the snowboarders is the freeboards.
Billy: How does that work?
Mitch: Those boards are six wheeled boards that have wheels in the center and then they have castors on the center of those so you can actually go into slides and do things that you can do on a snowboard.
Billy: Give me one more example.
Mitch: We've got lots of different long boards that have been really popular setting them up with custom grip tape and different wheels.
Billy: So you go out and you go research all the new things and bring them to the store.
Billy: That must be just crazy. The customers come into the store and do they come asking you for the new things and do you get research off them?
Mitch: Absolutly, a lot of customers come in they have great ideas they found off the internet. And we're happy to pursue their ideas as well.
Billy: So you do custom things as well.
Customization and Custom Bikes
Billy V: At Bikefactory they are taking care of their customers, and if you'd like to be one of their customers come on down Ala Moana and Cooke St. We're talking to Duane Franklin, production manager of Bikefactory. What does that mean, production manager?
Duane: It just means that I am in charge of production, all aspects of getting the day to day operations done. whether it be making sure all repairs get done in a timely manner. Making sure that bicycles are assembled on the floor for stock and also for custom built. And taking care of the warranties.
Billy V: How long have you been in the business?
Duane: I first started working in the shop in 1989.
Billy: And you're also a cycling enthusiast as well?
Duane: Not as much as I'd like to be, I spend too much time here.
Billy: You mention custom built bikes, you custom build bikes?
Duane: We have a couple of manufactures that we deal with that do custom built frames, and we will take those frames or stock frames from other manufactures and build them from the ground up.
Billy: Now I noticed you have other things here besides bikes, you have strollers I noticed and other things?
Duane: Yeah, we have jogging strollers and a little bit of everything with wheels.
Billy: Now is there a difference between custom built and customizing?
Duane: Custom built, would be taking someone's measurements, sending it to the manufacturer and having them custom build the frame for that person and building the bike up around them. Customizing would be if they were to take a bike off our shelves and say they wanted to swap out a wheel set, swap out a saddle, make it feel a little bit more like their bike, but we do it all.
Billy: Now the best part of your job here at Bikefactory?