From the Owners
What was the inspiration for Phat Tire?
Chris Brosh and I (Tim Robinson) grew up in Bentonville/Bella Vista and have always loved this region. We felt a sense of personal ownership and pride in helping to develop the town given we were from here and wanted others who weren’t from here to love it just as much as we did. In 2006 Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Trails were being developed and we were often out there friends walking the land, building jumps and log rides, etc. to get the trail open and people riding it. In April 2007 the first 5 miles of Slaughter Pen officially opened to the public and we all rode it every week because it was new and so much fun! As everyone knows, when you start mountain biking you quickly realize that bike maintenance is unavoidable due to flat tires, crashes, broken parts, etc. We were often going to bike shops out of town to get our bikes fixed and broken parts replaced. Instead of waiting for a shop to come to Bentonville, we decided to take that challenge with the goal to have a local shop that was close and convenient to the trails, had quicker turnaround times than other shops with the best mechanics around, and we wanted to drive events and make cycling a lifestyle that improved the community.
What were the early days of Phat Tire like?
We didn’t have much when we started, we could only afford to have about 30 bikes on the floor and had basic parts and clothing to sell. Our floor was so empty that we even had room for a couch and 2 chairs around a TV that played bike videos…that floor space is thankfully too valuable now!
Many of our customers likely had to wait on special orders for 2-3 days if we didn’t have it in stock just because we were new and were severely undercapitalized!
Chris was the first store manager, and he hired 2 other employees to help him: Don West – a solid mechanic and Jimmy Buckner – a young high school BMX addict who helped us reach that crowd. We used Don’s knowledge of the cycling industry and bicycle mechanics, Chris and Tim’s business/community connections, and Jimmy’s reach to the BMX and high school scene. It was an interesting combination but it worked.
We were certainly a small, local business who were passionate about our mission to make Bentonville a bicycle friendly community and get people on bikes!
Owner, Chris Brosh, stands outside of the first Phat Tire Bike Shop.
Where did the name Phat Tire come from?
Chris and Tim thought long and hard about a good/cool shop name. Finally one night as they were finalizing that decision they decided to name it after the beer they were drinking at the time – Fat Tire! Change the Fat to “Phat”, developed our own logo, and got copyright restrictions on the name.
Why Bentonville/Fayetteville/Fort Smith/Northwest Arkansas?
Because we plan to live here, want to make it cool/healthy, and we believed the people living in these communities would respond well to this lifestyle if we could advocate that infrastructure and culture. We live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country where you can enjoy a different cycling experience year round. Spring – race through the budding redbuds, dogwoods, and new trees/grass/flowers coming to life. Summer – it is so humid and lush green, a good workout for sure. Fall – the leaves are red, orange, yellow and it almost looks like a tie dye painting if you can go fast enough. Winter – warm enough to ride, not too much snow, easy to see all of the deer and other wildlife that share the woods with us that usually hide behind all the green plants in the summer.