October 12, 2008

Flatland Fuel

Flatland Fuel does something big for flatland. It makes flatland stuff easy to get. Pat Schoolen has been at the helm since the beginning working hard to make each flatland riders life a lot easier. I decided to ask Pat a few questions about Flatland Fuel, and here is what he had to say.

Name: Patrick Schoolen

HMFIC of flatlandfuel.com

When did Flatland Fuel come into existence?

Legally Jan.1, 2001 and website launched March 1, 2001. Before that I sold the occasional part on the message boards, ebay and early on through the bmx email list.

I can remember when it was really hard to get flatland parts. I would go to bike shops, ask if they could get a Nankai, and they wouldn't know what the hell I was talking about. Now every rider can get everything they need from Flatland Fuel. Did you start Flatland Fuel to make this easier for the riders out there?

Yes. I was in the same situation. I worked at a bike shop that never carried any flatland parts and although I could order some flatland parts from each of the existing mail order shops, none of them had enough to even build a complete bike. Plus their selection was dismal. So flatlandfuel.com was started to serve that need. Plus flatland is my passion so doing this was way better than the office job I had after college.

Describe a normal "day at the office"?

No day is the same but it is guaranteed to be hectic.My girlfriend Katie arrives at flatlandfuel at 6am, a couple of hours before anyone else. She processes orders and gets a lot of things done that are impossible once everyone is here and the phones are ringing. Our 2-3 employees arrive at 8am and dive into packaging orders. I usually start working around 8am from home so I can answer some of the 200+ emails I get each day. This is easier to do at home with no distractions. I will then arrive at work around 9:30-10am and continue with email, purchasing, website updates, throwing grips at employees and just about anything else that comes up. Katie and I average 12 hours a day during the week and 5-6 hours each day on the weekends. Vacations and days off are rare. We have a new employee that handles all of the photography for the website and Katie's replacement will start soon so that will ease our schedule. I am looking forward to it. Especially since we moved last year to a bigger warehouse and for the first time in my life I have my own indoor spot to ride.

Flatland has changed a lot over the years. Bikes, style, people, you name it it's changed. From your prospective what have been some major changes you have seen?

I think the core of flatland has remained the same. It is still a very creative artistic pursuit that is a never ending challenge. For those of us that enjoy that, flatland will always be the same for us. Of course there are always changes in bike design that allow riders to use bikes that are better suited to their needs. We have went from all around bmx bikes in the 80s to heavy and indestructible bikes in the early 90s on to flatland specific frames in the mid 90s and a constant evolution since then. Right now there is a big demand for the lightest weight parts. Of course with that comes higher costs and shorter lifespans. Flatland is a small market so the riders really drive that market. The flatland manufacturers will continue to change to accommodate what the rider's needs are over time.

What are some of your all time best selling products?

Odyssey Frequency G tires are our number one selling product ever. Since those were released we have cut our tire selection in half because Frequency Gs have really killed that demand. Number 2 is probably Nankai freecoaster hubs. They have always been reliable and work great so they continue to sell very well. Number 3 is probably Matt Wilhelm's Ground Rules DVD. Absolutely the best tool for a beginner to start riding flat.


Sumthin' Luv said...

Great interview. :) No suprise to what the number one selling part on flatland fuel was going to be! ~KLEM~

Rad Dad 67 said...

Very nicely Done!! I saw your message on global Flat and wanted to check it out! Glad I did. Your blog is very cool. Maybe I will see you at the ATL Jam