From the Owners
In the beginning
My name is Tim Robinson, and my good friend, Chris Brosh, and I grew up in Bentonville and Bella Vista AR. We love this region and its natural beauty. We wanted to help build the cycling scene and infrastructure so that everyone would love it as much as we do.
In 2006 Slaughter Pen Mountain Bike Trails were being developed. We spent a lot of time walking the land with our friends. We built jumps, log rides, and other fun features. We couldn’t wait for the trail to be opened so everyone could ride it!
In April 2007, the first 5 miles of Slaughter Pen officially opened to the public and we shredded every chance. As everyone knows, mountain biking and bike maintenance go hand-in-hand. Service is constant between the unavoidable crashes, flat tires, broken parts, etc. We headed out of town every week to get our bikes fixed and broken parts replaced.
Instead of waiting for a shop to come to Bentonville, Chris and I decided to meet the challenge and create a local shop, close & convenient to the trails with the best mechanics around and quick turnaround times. Our other goal was to drive the development of events and infrastructure. We wanted the cycling lifestyle to be a choice that improves the community.
Since those early days, the Walton Family Foundation, local non-profits, and community leaders have taken active roles in funding, designing, and developing miles of accessible trails. Phat Tire has been there every step of the way. OORC’s Brannon Pack said, “It takes a community and Phat Tire is one piece of that.”
The original Phat Tire Bike Shop.
Finding Our Name
Chris and I thought long and hard about what would be a cool and memorable name for our shop. One night, we were hanging out and making plans for our new shop. We may have been drinking beers ??. We realized the answer was sitting right in front of us. You can probably guess, we were drinking Fat Tire beer. We realized we could just tweak that name, create our own logo, pass any copyright restrictions, and we had our name, Phat Tire Bike Shop.
The Early Days
The early days were a challenge! We didn’t have much when we started. We could only afford to have 30 bikes on the floor with a skinny selection of basic parts and clothing to sell. Our retail floor was so empty that we had room for a couch, 2 chairs, and a TV to play bike videos.
While I focused on the financial side of the business, Chris led the day-to-day operations. He was the first store manager and he hired 2 employees to help: Don West, an excellent bike mechanic and Jimmy Buckner, a young high school BMX aficionado.
We didn’t spend much on traditional advertising but depended on excellent customer service and products to help spread the word. We also established group rides and participated in all sorts of regional events. We focused on creating a strong relationship with the cycling community.
We are now active in supporting the Arkansas National Interscholastic Cycling Association (AR NICA), the Arkansas Enduro Series (AES), the Arkansas Mountain Biking Championship Series (AMBCS), the Tour de Dirt (TDD), the Rule of Three, Square2Square, the Ozark Off-Road Cyclist (OORC), the Major Taylor Cycling Club, and more.
Owner, Chris Brosh, stands outside of the first Phat Tire Bike Shop.
Growth and the Future
Chris once said, “Growth (is) a goal (as is) creating something that can grow in not only location and scale, but in being able to reach the community in positive ways. We felt like we could make that difference. That was always in our minds.” Over the years, Phat Tire has expanded to seven (7) shops in Arkansas including Bentonville, Bella Vista, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Rogers, Siloam Springs, and Springdale.
In 2016, Chris met Adam Vandenburg at the Fat Tire Festival. Adam owned two bike shops in Tulsa OK, Lee’s Bicycles (opened in 1914) and the Trek Store on Riverside. Adam was considering a change and he was looking for someone who would bring a high level of passion, pride, and connection to his Tulsa cycling community. Fortunately, he found that in Phat Tire.
Since 2016, the Downtown and South Tulsa stores have flourished and we added a third store in Broken Arrow in 2020. 2020 was a big year as Phat Tire also opened its first store in the Oklahoma City region with two more following soon thereafter in Edmond and Norman.
Phat Tire Bike Shop currently has thirteen (13) retail locations, across three regions in two states. Plus, we have a dedicated rental facility in Bentonville AR. We are eternally grateful to our customers, family, friends, and co-workers for helping us live our dream every single day. Nothing says this better than our mission statement:
Phat Tire is a people-led, community minded bike shop dedicated to crafting memorable cycling experiences through unmatched hospitality and selling products and services we believe in.
Thank you for making our dream come true.
- Tim Robinson and Chris Brosh, Phat Tire Bike Shop