PETALUMA, CA (BRAIN) — In line with the ethos upon which the Society of People Who Actually Make Their Own Sh*t (SOPWAMTOS) was founded, frame and component builder Bruce Gordon is set to open his first brick-and-mortar store this month. Bruce Gordon’s Bicycle Gallery and Boutique will feature an array of products from manufacturers like White Industries, King Cage, Honjo and others that share Gordon’s appreciation for high quality goods.
“We want to sell stuff manufactured by the same people whose name is on the product,” said Gordon. “In the 44 years I’ve worked in this industry, I’ve seen stuff devolve from being a quality product to just being a product of quality marketing.”
For those who don’t remember, the height of the SOPWAMTOS era was from 1994 to 1998, when co-founders Mark Norstad of Paragon Machine Works and Gordon were on a mission to make people aware of where products were sourced in the industry. For four years, SOPWAMTOS handed out the Golden Toilet Seat awards to various companies at Interbike in categories that included “Smoke and Mirrors” and “Darth Vadar Intergalactic Domination”.
“SOPWAMTOS is about making people aware, and hopefully getting them to think about where stuff comes from,” said Gordon. “And I don’t mean this to say that I’m ‘rah rah American’, that everything has to be made in the U.S., but there plenty of cheap knock-offs out there that are just not a quality product.”
Besides a variety of ethically sourced products, including his own brand of components and bicycles, Gordon’s shop also features a gallery space dedicated to his extensive collection of every bicycle he has built for himself since 1974—a total of 25 complete bikes and five frames.
Gordon said the shop won’t distract him from his own manufacturing, which he will continue to do on site. “I’m not going to stop making stuff, and will still concentrate on doing that,” he said. Gordon has hired a full-time staff member to help him with the day-to-day, including running a full-service repair shop.
“We want this shop to become a fixture in our local community,” said Gordon. “But we know that our core customers are going to be people who really care where stuff is made. I like to use this analogy: If all you can afford is a Volkswagon, then there’s no use going into an Audi dealership.”
“I’m not trying to change the world,” he continued. “I’m just trying to make a living.”
Bruce Gordon Cycles is located at 409 Petaluma Boulevard South in Petaluma, California. The shop is having a grand opening celebration on Saturday, October 26 from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Beer will be available, and Gordon said he may even wear a fez.