8 Reasons Why You Should Never Open a BMX Shop... And 8 Reasons Why You Probably Should.

And no, we're not seriously trying to discourage anyone from opening up a shop...

14 Jul 2015


Does this look like a man worried about taxes and time management? Throwback to shortly after Goods BMX opened for business.

Intro and photos by Rob Dolecki

With roughly two out of every three U.S. small businesses failing within ten years after starting, reaching the decade milestone is quite a feat. When it comes to BMX shops, that number is probably way higher- in favor of the failure rate. Between all the BS of non-stop work hours (it starts way before and lasts long after normal business hours), almost incessant barrage of vacuous questions daily, and regular extortion via the IRS, it can drive a shop owner to leave the “Closed” sign permanently hanging on the front door.

This year marks ten years for Shad Johnson holding it down behind the sales counter at Goods BMX in Portland, Oregon. He’s beaten the odds. But as with anyone who runs a small retail business knows, it wasn’t an easy endeavor. But there are plenty of positives, which can more often than not outweigh any negatives, as Shad breaks it down here.

8 Reasons Not To:

1. Trying to run a business efficiently with time management.

I’m the only employee; It’s super stressful running the shop on my own. I need to I find time to have a real life too, as with any small business owner. I normally have to wake up early to run errands for the shop before it opens at noon. If you’re an early riser and think the usual 9 to 5 is good hours, you’ll probably be out of business. Most BMX’ers aren’t early risers. If it’s summer, I’m at Burnside anyway getting in a few runs before the shop opens.

2. Bad yelp reviews.

One time a 30 year-old six-foot tall guy came in with a junior-size race bike, and wanted to race on it. I told him that wasn’t going to work, and he argued with me. He kept saying he just needed bigger handlebars on it. I sold him some Perfect 10’s; it was the best option he had for riding that bike. He looked like a clown on it. He called me a month later and asked to return the bars; I told him no. He gave me a bad Yelp review.

3. Thefts.

I’ve had two break-ins, and it’s really disheartening. You get the call, come to the shop, and the cops are there, and window is already plywood-ed up. Someone went into something you’ve worked really hard on; you feel violated and angry.

4. Small business taxes.

It’s the worst thing ever. I’ll be saving up to get an order of completes and then you have to take that money to pay your taxes. I really hate taxes.


A little more gray, a little more wise- Shad in front of Goods.

"One time a 30 year-old six-foot tall guy came in with a junior-size race bike, and wanted to race on it."

5. Dads who fail to realize it’s not 1983 BMX anymore.

Trying to explain to know-it-all dads why they should get a proper-sized 16” bike to fit their seven year-old kid, not something like a 20” they rode at the same age in the 80’s.

6. Bringing in Craigslist bike purchases.

Someone buys a bike off Craigslist, and it’s a Next bike from a department store with FIT stickers. You have to break down to them that they got ripped off.

7. Dumb questions regularly.

When people call in and ask how much a tire is and then they show up and you realize that they meant a wheel. Then you have to break down every part on a wheel so they understand. People trying to explain bike part problems with the wrong terms is also very entertaining.

8. Less time to ride.

When I was filming a lot, I used to bitch that I rode less. Now I ride even less. BMX is more than tricks to me though, so it’s Ok for me to make sacrifices to see other people enjoy BMX. It brings me enjoyment BMX in a different way. I’ll be 39 this year, and I have nothing to prove; I’ve far exceeded how good I thought I would ever be, so it’s all good to get more people into riding.


Don't let reason Number 8 fool you; Shad still gets in those sessions on the bike, and even keeps some classic old-school flavor in the deep-end of bowls alive.

8 Reasons To Run With It:

1. BMX needs shops.

It’s what our industry is lacking. A strong community builds culture. BMX doesn’t need any more bike companies; there are plenty. Road bike shops and mom-and-pop shops really don’t bring that culture or attitude that BMX needs.

2. You are a part of BMX, but don’t have to deal with industry drama.

You get to just look at the different companies from the sidelines and bring in what’s doing well.

3. A shop team helps establish the distinction between Flow, Am and Pro.

That ladder has been broken for so long and shops are a good way to fix it. They are a great way for a rider to get on the shop team, then to get flow on a company, and work their way up from there. The distinction between flow, am, and pro is so all over the place right now. A lot of riders don’t understand that being sponsored is not only about being a good rider, but it’s also how you build relationships with people. No company wants to throw someone in a van on a trip if you suck as a person. So if the shop that you ride for puts a good word for you,it’s a start on building that relationship with a company.

4. Selling someone their first bike and watch them become a bad-ass rider.

I sold Codie Larsen a Fit Chase Hawk when he was like 13. I sold Jeremy Davis’s kid his first bike, and now he’s ripping.


Codie Larsen has come a long way since the days of his first purchase from Goods; he's now one of the leaders of the new school Portland crew.

" I don’t want to work for people; I’m really bad at that. I had really shitty jobs before this."

5. It’s a local place where riders can go and meet each other.

It’s not always easy to find others as passionate about something as you. It brings kids together to ride with each other. Plus it’s also a way to have events that help be a hub for the subculture.

6 Old school/vintage bikes.

It’s one of those things that people really hold onto as a connection to their youth. I love when people bring in their bike and have a story about it. Sometimes BMX is just riding to the store, going fast and jumping off curbs. It’s great as a shop owner that BMX is getting more accepting of 24” and 22” bikes. Someone can still sit down and cruise, hit a curb cut; that might even bring them back to the trails or skatepark. It’s pushing something that’s healthy and positive.

7. Work for yourself and be around BMX.

I don’t want to work for people; I’m really bad at that. I had really shitty jobs before this.

8.Making a local brand.

Making your own shop a brand too. We’re putting a whole screen printing area in the back. People like our shirts, I want to build it more as a brand.



There is a high probability that Shad also sold Draven Wheeland his first bike. T-bog at one of the Tuesday BMX Nights at Trusty Bowl in Portland, thanks to Shad setting those monthly sessions up.

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