Can you tell us a bit about your business background and how Crucial began?
CrucialBMX began back in 2006 when I finished my second year at college, I was riding BMX as much as I possibly could while working part-time in a local computer store. This helped me gain a great deal of knowledge on running a shop, and also taught me things like website design and computer programming. I actually went to college to become an architect, but I saw a niche in the market for a 100 per cent rider owned and run BMX store in the South-West. Now I might not ever be as wealthy as had I stuck it out with architecture, but nothing beats the feeling of waking up each morning with a massive smile excited as to what your days going to bring, regardless of money.
You’re part of the ‘Rider Run Stores’ collective – tell us a bit about why you’re involved:
Rider Owned Stores are getting together to trying to raise awareness of how important we are to the surrounding scenes. Large mail-order companies will be the death of our beloved sport, making it un-cool and taking us back to the desperate times of the early nineties.
You sponsor local talent and events. Does this channel energy back into the business?
We have a great line-up of ten team riders. Most of them are local to the shop, which helps to promote us within the South-West. However, with our new website we are hoping to branch out a little more so we have just picked up two more riders from the North. All the riders are young and up-and-coming. We don’t sponsor riders that already have companies backing them as I see it as they have already made it. Event-wise we hold at least five jams a year here at the shop, dubbed ‘CrucialBMX Back Yard Jams’, where we actually create a skate park in our car park. The jams are totally free, open to everyone from families to professional riders. We often have a BBQ going and give away a ton of prizes. Ask anyone who has been to one, they’re always a blast. This is our way of giving back to the local community who have supported the store from day one.
You’re diversifying the business with Crucial Scooters. What other trends are emerging that you are getting involved with?
As far as diversifying the business with trends – that won’t happen. We are a 100 per cent BMX shop. As far as the scooters go, it all just happened, but boy are we glad it did.
About two years ago we were in a tiny single window fronted shop. The BMX wasn’t anywhere near as booming as it is now due to us not being anywhere near as established and we kept getting asked for push along scooters. Thinking nothing of it we got in a few ‘JD Bugs’. At the same time as the scooter trend was kicking off we were also talking about moving to larger premises for more space. Scooters helped out massively with our finances with moving. Our scooter section has not grown at all, but we now have over 120 BMX bikes on display, one of the biggest Cytech Three trained workshops in the southwest, over 40 frames on the wall, a chill out area, large shoe display and so on.
How big do you foresee BMX becoming in future given the ups and downs of the past?
BMX has seen some big up and downs throughout the last decade, but at the moment I cannot see it taking a dive anytime soon. In my eyes it is still growing almost daily. There is too much money in BMX now, with the council building awesome concrete skate parks in most cities, the media thriving off it, massive companies like Relentless sponsoring non-contest riding riders, and whatever else. If BMX was to take a serious dive it would take a lot of large companies with it, myself included, left with a lot of debt.
The only reason I could see the ‘death’ of our sport would be from the massive price increases we have seen over the last couple of years. How can 14-year-old Billy afford a decent pair of bars when they cost £70?
The shop attends events such as NASS – how far does this go toward raising your profile?
Doing large events like NASS Festival are great for raising the shop’s profile. People from all around the country come to these events, which helps promote the store. Promotion is always difficult with the amount of different mediums available today. Extreme sports events are perfect for our target audience.
Not only do we go to events that involve BMX, like NASS, but we also go to events outside the BMX community. A great example is VolksFest, a VW and VAG enthusiast weekend festival. We will be going along with our five foot mini-ramp promoting the shop and doing demos and competitions throughout the day.