Did you take any action from the start or were you thinking this would be over in a few weeks?
James Colella: As a small business initially I was concerned about the instability Covid would cause, but a lot was uncertain about Covid, and the reasoning for the response from authorities, anybody knows the media here is looking for revenue and isn’t honest, politicians are the same. So the only thing I did was just try to be as accommodating to my customers as possible, we put out hand sanitizer and got a contactless payment system to help make their experience here at KR a comfortable one without alienating the feeling of being welcome. AmEx even sent out equipment and signage to help.
Now, being in this situation for many months, how did you manage to keep your business rolling?
James Colella: I never changed the hours or closed. I got some help early on kind of by luck, I’ve had Patrick Martinez in here doing media to keep the vibe of the shop right. We also were selected by Angie Marino to be part of Vans Foot the Bill project which helped small businesses. That was a great initiative Vans took and we are very proud to have been a part of it. My wife has taken days off work often as well to come run numbers, keep the shop clean and organized, and make sure it’s stocked and feels like KR. Just focus on maintaining what we do here no matter how busy it has gotten.
The supply chain has also suffered. Has it been a challenge getting the bikes/product in stock that you needed for your customers?
James Colella: I’ve always been a core BMX shop and tried to maintain only carrying certain core brands. Obviously the demand is what went up, the supply of goods was what was expected for most of 2020. The brands I work with really did their best to take care of the shop, and my customer needs. At times some things were hard to get and yeah we missed a ton of sales when inventory was hard to keep up but overall sales are way way up so it’s hard to be upset. Shout to the people at Cult Crew, Full Factory, Blackout, QBMX, Vans, Dickies, WindMill City Screenprinting and all my reps for being on point through this wild ride.
Have you been able to keep your shop open all this time?
James Colella: Yes, even with a lot of California businesses getting shut down bicycles are transportation and we were deemed essential. We’ve been open normal hours since the start. Very fortunate in many ways.
If so, what are measures you had to take to keep the door open?
James Colella: We didn’t do much, we weren’t able to do many events which is a huge deal for our area. We haven’t let riders hangout and session our warehouse ramp, only let a few friends use it for content. We also increased our youtube and social media presence just to help show we are doing our thing no matter.
Have internet sales/mail-order sales made up for loss of shop sales?
James Colella: Online and shop sales are up.. Covid has been nothing but good for sales.
During the pandemic has it been difficult to organize local events to support the local scene and get the customers in the shop?
James Colella: Yeah events have been a hard one, we do a ton of small ones but try to do two large events every year. We had the We the People team here doing an event on March 13th and we questioned cancelling it but I didn’t want to and they didn’t either. It went good and the next day they all had to catch flights home. We cancelled Desert Reign in May and then did a couple small events over the summer. Recently we cancelled DAK FRIDAY which looked like it was going to happen and the week of, California announced more closures sighting an up tick in infection. Dakota Roche is really a true professional and did the best with a shitty situation. Robbie and Cult are always willing to support however they can, we gave a custom bike away and plan to make up for it once everything stabilizes.
What mouth masks do you sell?
James Colella: Obviously we’ve sold a lot of KR ones but also Cult and Animal.
What are the plans for the shop for the coming months?
James Colella: I’m hoping to keep everyone rolling, hoping to do some events in the spring, do new collaborative products with Cult, have more KR gear than ever before, and just keep growing and going in the right direction.
James Colella: My family for keeping me sane, Jess, Kennedy and Indy. Patrick Martinez, Robbie Morales and Cult for supporting KR without question. Dak, Dehart, Dan Kruk, The Bebe Kids for assembling bikes, my Dad, the KR guys, Steven, Josh, David, Ty, Omar, Johnny Cattt, Nick, Israel, Chance, Reece, Will, Trevor, Maykol..all the guys who rep. Matt Collins, the sales reps that deal with me. Takes a lot of good people to be able to have a shop, they know who they are and always have a place at KR.
Your website: kingsrideshop.com