In July of 1996 I moved into 2533-D Mission st. ext. I paid rent there from that date but did not officially move in until October. At that time I was sharing the shop with Rick Hunter who had moved into the shop as soon as I started renting it in July.
A lot has happened since I moved into this space. I really got established as a source for cyclocross frames, I bought my house , got married and started a cyclocross team with a lot of help. Most of what I did was a product of much help from a lot of people in the cycling community. I try to give back as much as I can but the debt can never be fully paid- I am surrounded by the greatest people- the riders, the team sponsors, my landlord, my neighbors, friends and my wife.
Not sure how many frames I have built since I moved int this shop but I'm thinking that it is somewhere around 2,000- give or take. This shop has been a pivotal part of my career, giving me the location and space to really hone my craft and really make it sustainable while also providing a platform for me to give back to the community in whatever way I can.
Now it is 2018 and my landlady is in hospice. She was the guiding force of this industrial complex and she used her iron will to keep this place a haven for artisans and craftspeople. This building is the last vestige of affordable industrial space on the west side of Santa Cruz. Now , with the failing health of the matriarch of this community it will no doubt be dismantled by the next generation who do not see the need to preserve the building as it is.
This changing of the guard is forcing me to move my shop. Paperwork has arrived and even though I am not being evicted or even told that the status of the building is changing, I know that I will have to leave. Conditions of staying here are not acceptable if I want to carry on with my business as it is. I won't get into particulars but the climate within the management of the building is hostile- there is no longer a benevolent leader, just people who see the tenants as valueless and servile. This is in great contrast to how I have been treated over the last two decades.
My hope is to find a spot somewhere in Santa Cruz where I will continue what I do. I will attempt to make the transition as seamless and rapid as possible to minimize the downtime and keep to my schedule of on-time frame deliveries. Last time I moved I had a lot of stuff to haul across town. Now I have at least double what I had in 1996 . I'll be cutting loose of lots of stuff in the next two months before I move to ease the transition and hopefully make for less clutter in the new location.
I have several possibilities, all within the county and one only a couple of miles away- No matter how it shakes out or where I wind up I will continue- that is if this move does not kill me. If it does, your frame might be significantly delayed.
I have too many great memories of this shop at 2533-D Mission st. extension and it will really sad to leave here. I feel like I have become part of this neighborhood and it has become part of me. Forces that are re-shaping the town, some good-some not so good are relentlessly at work.....I can't stand in the way of time or money coming into the west side and making it reflect the will of developers and speculators who know the value of the real estate and plan to capitalize on it.
A good friend of mine said :" It's just business, don't take it personally." Well, I do take it personally and also , I don't do business that way. That said, I do understand that I am not calling the shots here and have to bend to the will of people who have a different set of ethics- People such as myself stand directly in their path of enrichment......I have to get out of the way.
So, off I go to parts yet to be determined. I will post updates and my email will still work. As soon as I am up and running again it will be documented in every news form I can reach. My goal is to move out by the end of July. I will still be at work building frames until the last week of July if all goes well. I hope that I will be up and running again by mid August at the latest
I have moved the shop several times before so this is not something I have no experience with. Many people have volunteered to help and make the move easier for me- I am very thankful for all the offers and no doubt will benefit from all the generosity. I'll be listing some stuff for sale- materials and maybe some bikes as well- all will be priced to go- money to offset the cost of moving and inevitable downtime.
While I am not happy that I am moving I do feel that there's a good chance I'll find a good spot with less stress from the powers that be. I also do not regret in any way my time here and consider it incredible good fortune that I had a chance to spend the bulk of my professional life here. I'll miss this place- a lengthy chapter is now coming to a close and a new one is beginning.