WALLER BMX - "You have the choice to support what companies are in line with your own ethics."
Talking shop with Jack Waller - Sheffield, UK
10 Feb 2021
Photos courtesy of Waller BMX & Fooman
Located in the city of Sheffield, UK, Waller BMX is a rider owned shop established by Jack Waller in 2012, with help from many of the local riders and their stacked team. Nestled inside OnBoard Skatepark, these guys have you covered all the way from complete bikes to wheel trues and way more. Scroll down for more about the store that's keeping the BMX flag flying in city that has had a huge impact on BMX worldwide...
The importance of BMX shops to local scenes (and BMX culture) can not be underestimated and that's why we support them. Throughout the year we'll continue to feature our DIG Partner Stores from around the world, so look for more local BMX shop articles soon!
How long have you been in business?
We opened in May 2012.
Can you explain how the idea for your store came to be?
I worked at another family bike store in Sheffield for a number of years alongside some pretty rad BMX riders at the time. It was a dream job for a while. But, when those guys moved on the BMX scene started to slow down. My boss at the time said the profit margin on BMX was terrible and he wanted me to start stocking brands like Savage who are owned by the Distributor so the margins were better. Shortly after that Waller BMX was born!
Why did you start a shop in your area?
The current hotspot for BMX wasn't moving with the times and they were looking in another direction to the riders. That and what BMX rider doesn't dream of owning his own shop!
Who owns the shop? Who works there?
Myself (Jack Waller) owns the business and handles all the admin/organising. Tom Smalley AKA Legend of legends handles the day to day and our new recruit Tommy P goes in hard on media and also the day to day tasks.
Are you primarily a BMX shop? If so, why?
We are 100% a BMX shop and have been since day one. The most MTB product we sell is a pivotal post in 30.9mm. We do fix wheels of all sizes though!
Who's on the shop team?
Our shop team is crazy right now! It includes the following riders; Frasier Hill, Brandon Steele, Lewis Cunningham, Cam Peake, Dylan Foster, Sam Marden, Ben Basford, Tom Kilcoyne, Michael Roper, Storm, Loosedog Lewis, Lee Wilson (Sliderman), Emrik Söderström and Kieran Cooper. A heavy team for sure!
Do you have any plans to produce any new team videos?
This is one of our main focuses for 2021 and something we've been wanting to do for a while. We want to drop a Waller BMX Team Edit/DVD and with the rider lineup it's sure to be full of bangers.
What promotional events have you done at the shop since opening?
The favourite for me was the Sunday Bikes pro team visit we had in 2014/15. They visited the shop and rode with all the locals at Onboard Skatepark where we're located. The following day myself and Sam Ward took the Sunday Pro team - Gary Young, Mark Burnett and Chris Childs to ride Sheffield street where Gary got his last clip banger for one of his sections filmed at Park Hill flats in Sheffield.
Any plans for more?
For sure! As soon as we're able to travel and organise events we're going to be on the road filming and back hosting local events.
How has COVID-19 affected the shop and local scene?
To be honest, it's not affected it as much as I thought it might other than how much we can all ride together. The crews in Sheffield are quite tight so it's not uncommon to have a 10-15 strong team cruising the streets of Sheffield in normal times. Also it seems with so much lockdown that more people than ever have picked up their BMX bike and met friends to go ride. This has seen many old faces back shredding which is a blessing really.
What changes have you noticed in your local scene since the shop opened?
I've noticed the riders just get better and better. As new friendships form amongst the guys they've just continued to progress together which has been awesome to watch. We've a nice vibe around the shop with the riders and I think they appreciate having Waller BMX and Onboard Skatepark as a base to meet up. Sheffield's well known for legendary riders some of which still ride occasionally. I think the younger guys have grown up watching these riders and so the legacy continues!
How important is performing bike repairs and maintenance for your shop?
We do a fair number of repairs down at the shop mainly wheel repairs. BMX kids wheels take a complete battering, as we know. Wheelbuilds, wheel true ups and bearing replacements seem to be the most common for us. However, we have been trusted with a number of old school resurrections lately which have been really good fun to do!
How have you been affected by the increase in people solely buying online and what have you done to combat that?
We still try to encourage people to shop in-store but, with the current lockdown restrictions it's just not possible. We notice the fluctuation of sales online a lot currently.
What brands do you carry?
We carry all brands that support BMX like we do! I think people forget that you have the choice to support what companies are in line with your own ethics. With that in mind we choose to support the brands that support BMX.
Which brands are doing well for you right now?
The ones that seem to be putting back into BMX always seem to do the best for us. But we only stock the brands we feel that connection with.
What's something you never expected to happen after opening the shop?
I guess that we would become a three man team working harmoniously day in day out. I'm so grateful for the guys that I work with.
What is the weirdest request you’ve ever had in the shop?
Probably that I needed to fix a customer's brake as it was "locking on". The customer wasn't too happy about this. I took the bike out of his car, twisted the handlebars 360 degrees and gave it back to him working perfectly.
What’s the most commonly asked question?
I reckon this has to be "what spoke size I need mate?" Which our usual reply is visit our online spoke calculator!
How many times have you had cheap bikes come in with the forks on backwards? What do you tell them?
Haha, not actually that many - maybe the kids round here are clued up. However, I have seen a kid at the local race track with them on backwards and he was shredding. Even more so after we sorted his bike out.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve seen happen out front?
Probably Brandon Steele dropping off the roof on his BMX then coming back the next day to barspin off it. Either that or the Fit Bike Team getting chonged in the car park in their tour van on the Fit UK tour.
Where do you want the shop to be in five years?
To continuously be growing year on year I guess would be the ideal. I love what we have currently and working with two close friends is all a blessing really! We'd love to expand our current shop so we can stock more BMX products that would be real nice!
I asked Smalley this question too and his reply was "somewhere warm, probably the Bahamas". So look out Bahamas BMX here we come.
Waller BMX are Official DIG Shop Partners.
And his Cult Shorty
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