Van, how are things these days?
Great! Things are a little stressful, but plenty to be excited about. We just opened a Two By Four in Philadelphia, so things are nuts with that right now. Also, I’m working on a full section in Stay Fit. I’m really happy with the footage I have so far, but I’m only about 1/3 of the way finished. I really need to focus on filming right now, but a hurt foot has slowed me down a little.
Congrats on your second store in Philly, you must be pretty excited.
Thanks. Yeah we will see how it goes. Hopefully we get the support we need to make it work. I think it’s going to be good. Philly has needed a core BMX shop for a long time. It’s really scary right now because I have been dumping so much money in to it. Hopefully it all comes back. It’s a lot of fun though, and the store is looking sick. We are trying to have it stocked proper right off the bat.
At what point did you decide to pull the trigger on a second location, and did you have any reservations about having to manage/oversee two stores?
It was just an idea for a while, and then my wife and I just started looking at some locations and it kind of moved forward pretty fast from there. There are plenty of reservations, but that’s just not the way I live my life. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work. I’d rather try and fail, than not try at all.
How do you think the Philly store will differ from your Jersey store? Will you have to do some things differently?
Well first of all, we aren’t doing any skate stuff at all in Philadelphia. It’s going to be 100% BMX. There are already plenty of good skate shops in Philly. I’m sure certain items will move better or worse in the city vs. the suburbs, but we will just have to wait and see exactly how all that pans out and stock the store accordingly.
What’s the hardest thing you’ve had to deal with going into business?
All the legal stuff. Just sending in the proper forms/payments to keep Uncle Sam happy. I wouldn’t consider myself a businessman so I’m just learning as I go, and it’s not always easy for me.
I admire the fact that you have transitioned from “pro-rider”, to “business-owner-while-still-being-a-pro-rider”. With being around BMX 24/7, do you ever get burnt out on bikes?
No not really. I love BMX, It’s my life. I think good employees and help from friends and family is the key to being able to have the stores, and stay on top of my riding at the same time.
A lot of people start their own business because they can enjoy a certain amount of freedom. Does having a shop actually allow you to ride more?
No, it makes it harder to ride for sure. Riding has been my only job for almost 10 years, so I’ve been really spoiled. With the stores, I have to ride when I have time to ride. Before the stores, I could just ride when I felt good. I just have to be more planned now. It’s a more “grown up” lifestyle for sure, haha.
We are pretty familiar with your riding career from seeing you in the mags and videos, but what kind of things would someone be surprised to learn about you that isn’t bike related
I’m living the family life now, so I try to spend a lot of time with my wife Samantha and my dog Hazel. As far as hobbies go, I’ve been in and out of a lot of things over the years. I was pretty addicted to poker for a while, but I only play once a week now. When I would get hurt I’d always pick up a new hobby. Guitar and Photos are two things I have gotten into during my two knee surgeries. I haven’t really messed with them in a while though. I would like to get back in to playing guitar, but the digi cam is good enough for me as far as the photos go these days. I’m into snowboarding too. I like to skate micro minis. I’ve really gotten into watching the Eagles games on Sundays over the past couple years as well.