INTERVIEW BY EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: KEVIN LITTLE, @KEVINMLITTLE,
A CONVERSATION WITH CARRIERS SKATE SHOP OWNER FRITZ PEITZNER, @FRITZPEITZNER
There is a certain magical feeling that skaters get the first time they enter a real brick & mortar skate shop. Their faces light up like Charlie entering Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, their eyes wide open and filled with wonder. They stare up at the shelves filled with skates and protective gear, they search through the display cases filled with wheels and skate parts of all shapes and sizes and they even have the opportunity to try on skates in real life. The feeling is surreal. The skaters pick their new items and immediately want to hit their local park or favorite skate spot to try out their new gear. It is moments like these that can plant the seed that may eventually blossom into a life transforming passion.
We had the opportunity to speak with Texas blading legend Fritz Peitzner, owner of Carriers Skate Shop, about what led to his transition from skater to company owner and his experience in opening a legitimate skate shop in this digital age and what he has done to ensure its continued success.
⦁ In the start Carriers was originally a clothing line, I remember you moving to Peru to work closely with the manufacturers of your clothing. How did that progress to selling skates and was your original intention to work up to owning a skate shop?
The way this whole thing started is pretty amazing. I went to Peru originally on a small Razors tour and loved the country so much that I stayed. My friend Carlos Lora who owns Extreme shop Peru (skate shop) hosted me for about 7 months. I have traveled like this twice in my life and have learned that magical things happen when you have no plan and take opportunities. Towards the end of my trip in Peru I discovered a small town where everything to start a clothing line is made and sold, this fascinated me. My original intention was just to make a proper fitting clothing line. My first try was not bad, I had custom made tee shirts which were made with a high quality cotton known as pima. I also had some chino pants made. My sizes were a little off but I started getting ideas on how to make it better. It took some years until I tried again but I ended up making some pretty nice fitting and quality shirts that sold out. Around this time I was out skating and someone stopped me to ask about my big wheel skates, this is when I decided to sell inline skates. Traveling sparked the whole thing along with the friends I have made on the way.
⦁ What was the biggest adversity that you faced in opening a brick and mortar skate shop?
Organization has been my biggest difficulty but it has taught me to be efficient and responsible. I have learned how to run my business out of necessity. When ever the shop needs something I learn and make it work. I started only with cash sales and a website that made no sales. Now I feel like I am very close to running a perfect shop with all of its components.
⦁ Carriers shop is located in a very nice business district in downtown Plano, TX, a few blocks away from the old Eisenberg’s Skatepark location. How have you been received by the other businesses in the area?
Everyone is cool in this area. One of my friends I grew up skating with manages two of the best pubs right around the corner. There are cool coffee shops, great pizza restaurants and people. The city of Plano even put us on the cover of their magazine along with a two page interview. www.Planomagazine.com
⦁ The last few months you have been on tour in the CarriersMobile to various skateparks promoting the shop. Where all did you visit and how was the turnout at the different stops?
We visited Austin, Houston, Corpus Cristi, San Antonio, and Tulsa Oklahoma. The turn outs were great at every stop. It was cool to see all the support we get here at home. I got to see many old friends and make new ones. We were able to sell some products and even make an edit for each tour.
⦁ Do you have any more Carriers tours planned and if so, are there any other locations you would like to visit?
I am buying a trailer this month and am hoping to make it to as many events as possible in North America this year!
⦁ You have also been giving out free skate lessons to kids during the summer time, what do you feel is the thing that is drawing these kids to inline skating?
Roller rinks are where most of these kids are starting. I have gotten some to try ramps and all of them love it. People just need to see more of it outside.
⦁ Do you have anyone else that is helping you manage the day to day operations of the shop? It seems like quite a lot of work to do by yourself.
Luckily I do because it is a lot of work with many different tasks. I also work another job. I have two friends who work the shop. They have really helped shape this business and keep it on track.
⦁ Does your busy schedule running the shop leave you much time to skate these days?
I am skating more than ever now! I don’t think I have ever been this busy in my life but I also haven’t been this motivated since I started skating.
⦁ In your shop you sell a wide range of skates in different styles such as aggressive and fitness skates as well as quad and derby skates. What are some things you have learned from selling these different products and being involved with the different communities in your shop?
I have learned that these products can get very technical along with the riders. It involves a lot of patience and listening. It is hard for some customers to find the right boot because of fitting, price and style. In the end I have noticed patterns with the different levels of skating and work off of that.
⦁ Is there anyone that you would like to thank for getting you to where you are now?
I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read this, my family, friends, rollerblading, shop supporters and staff. Zac Szczur and Justin Jones for all the hard work they put into the shop and Quintrell Vines for all the tour edits. Carriers Shop is growing because inline skating has so many great people who show off and push this sport. Thanks to everyone on skates!
Be sure to follow Carriers Skate Shop on their social media and peep their site for more information.
Instagram | @carriersskateshop
Facebook | Carriersskateshop