March 10, 2010

What's your title and responsibilities at QBP?

I am the Product Manager. I have a group of three other guys who work with me to determine the assortment of brands and products QBP offers to our dealers.

How many years have you been working there?

I've been here a little more than six years now. Time has flown by!

What's your BMX background? And are you still riding BMX?

I've been a racer since I was 10-year-old (I'm 33 now). It's the only constant in my life that has endured for all that time. Of course racing has its ups-and-downs, but I still love to go fast on my bike. I've been trying to ride trails more in the past couple of years when I can, too. I've never ridden much street or park; I like the dirt more, I guess. I still race Vet Pro or A Pro (depending on the race) in the ABA a few times a year, but it's been really hard the last couple of years since I have two young kids (ne-and-a-half and four) who I spend a lot of time with. I still try to make it to the track once a week to ride, see friends, and try to keep up with the 15-year-olds.

Minnesota's winters can be harsh, to put it mildly. How does a rider get by up there this time of year?

A lot of people go to the indoor parks we have. We have a small indoor track too.

QBP's operation is quite impressive. Can you give some numbers or facts of how much product you guys move? I heard you can get an order at 6pm and still ship it out the same day.

True! That's what we pride ourselves on. Having the stuff dealers need and shipping it quickly and accurately. We call it "dialed and delivered" and it's gone a long way to build loyalty with our dealers. I can't talk specifics about our volume, but dealers know that when they call us or place on order online they'll get their order when they expect it.

You originally were the BMX Parts Manager at QBP. Are you still heavily involved in what BMX products QBP distributes?

I came to QBP loosely "to run the BMX program" as the BMX Coordinator. Over time my position grew and changed and a couple of years ago I had the opportunity to take over product management for the entire QBP assortment. It has been a challenge, let me tell you. Fortunately, now I have a good group of folks working with me to help share the load. I am definitely still very involved in the BMX effort, but over the years I've worked hard to integrate BMX into the culture and structure of QBP wherever I could. We have a great group of buyers (Dan Maier, Andy Olson and Jay Schlie) and a BMX sales manager (Glenn Dussl) who all do a great job keeping BMX running smoothly, and I am more focused on bringing in new brands and keeping tabs on what is and is not working in the BMX assortment.

For readers out there that don't know how a distribution company in the bicycle/BMX industry works, can you explain what a company like QBP does and their role in the big picture of bicycle and parts sales?

Basically we stock brands and products in a central location so that dealers can order-as-needed instead of all at once. It lowers the dealers' risk because they don't have to place orders for several months' worth of stock at once. With a distributor like QBP they have a single location to order from, resolve problems with and pay invoices to. We get the products to the shops when they need them from week-to-week without calling 400 different companies all the time.

Are there a lot of QBP employees that ride BMX?

Yes, for sure-that's the good thing about QBP. Not just BMX, but most of us are really into riding something or other (fixie, MTB, road). There are also a lot of people around here with some BMX background who now ride something else. We are a collection of smaller groups who are really into different niches of riding.

How many years has QBP been doing Frostbike and what's it all about?

QBP has been holding an annual "open house" since back in the 1980s and the effort has been stepped up each year. Four years ago it was renamed Frostbike and we've put a lot of effort into providing educational clinics and seminars for our dealers and making it the best venue for QBP, brands, and dealers to come together. The list of seminars and events seems to grow every year, and there are usually a few unofficial parties around the Minneapolis area that take place over the weekend, too.

With Interbike being the biggest bike show of the year, why does QBP do Frostbike?

The vibe at Frostbike is completely different from Interbike. The venue provides a chance for dealers to really take time interacting with the brands who attend and the people at QBP. We also do a ton of educational seminars over the course of the weekend that dealers really like. They run the gamut from managing your supply chain to how to participate more in BMX. Plus, the food is really good too, and there is Spudware here.

How many BMX companies display at the show?

It varies from year-to-year depending on who is new and who is able to make it, but usually six to eight. This year the "mainly BMX" brands we had were Stolen, Flybikes, Odyssey, Eastern, Intense, and Profile Racing.

What BMX companies does QBP distribute?

Too many to list! Here are some highlights: Stolen, Flybikes, KHE, Eastern, Duffs, Odyssey, Profile Racing, Intense, Demolition, Answer BMX, Suelo, Alienation, Primo, FBM, Sinz, ACS, DiaTech, Fly Racing, and Supercross.

Did you see anything new from any BMX companies that you were excited about?

Frostbike is more about interacting with dealers and not so much about releasing new products, so I had seen all the "new" 2010 stuff already. Those new Profile hubs still look killer and are a great update to the proven design. All the 2010 Flybikes stuff is very clean and dialed as well.

How is BMX viewed by the other companies at Frostbike?

On the whole, I think non-BMX vendors are impressed by the level of professionalism some of the BMX companies display and the design ingenuity they have. So many of the non-BMX folks are not exposed to the current state of BMX very often, and I think it's an eye-opener.

Any trends you see happening? Anything you'd like to see in the future?

I'm a big fan of simplicity. Not just the idea of simplicity, but truly making bikes easier to put together, easier to take care of, and more durable. I also really like to see all the brands that are actually making unique products again. It seemed like for a few years there so much stuff was just "me too" or a copy of someone else's work.

Every BMXer has some favorite pros/riders. Who are some of yours?

After spending last weekend with him, I'd have to say Kevin Porter. He gave me a used pair of red Duffs!

QBP is more of a behind-the-scenes company in the BMX industry, but is there anything we can look forward to seeing from you guys?

We've had a lot of fun pulling together some road trips with Props in the past and there is a chance we'll do that again. We have a few other ideas to get QBP out more into the public light, but we prefer to focus on and rely on the strength of the brands we carry instead of marketing QBP too much at the consumer level.

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