Tony Tapay and Mike Cobb are launching a new distribution company called Framebuilder Supply. In Portland, Oregon, naturally. The two have combined experience of more than 35 years in the bicycle industry, and are looking to use that to help Portland’s huge custom bike scene as well as custom builders around the world.
Many of today’s large companies and distributors of bike parts got their start just like Tapay and Cobb, seeing a small need and moving to fill it. Small custom builders, with their small orders, are not the most profitable customers, so the bigger guys have often stopped carrying these needed parts and that opens the door for another new player.
To get off on the right roads, they are throwing a party. Details inside…
Last year, Framebuilder Supply secured distributorship of Columbus tubing. Columbus joins other products on Framebuilder Supply’s website: brazing and welding products from Gasflux, Harris Products, and Weld Mold; abrasives from 3M; lugs and fork crowns from Allotec; as well as proprietary items unique to Framebuilder Supply.
“One of the things we’re excited to build upon is the success of our own products,” said Cobb. “We designed and built a mounting bracket for a tail light from Supernova, a high-end German bike light company, and it’s been really popular. Portland builders and specialty bike shops have been great at pointing out industry blind spots. Removing these barriers is part of our mission.”
Tony Tapay is an Industrial designer, working with the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry and the Portland Art Museum, and he has also been a teacher at the United Bicycle Institute. Mike Cobb has a wide range of experience in the industry including working with Rivendell, Xtracycle, Yuba, Metrofiets, Ruckus, and TiCycles.
“Now that we’ve got Columbus on board,” said Cobb, “we’re excited to show builders what we’ve got. Portland has the highest concentration of professional custom bicycle frame builders in the country and arguably the world. Builders were ordering most of their materials from out-of-state and those shipping costs added up. We wanted to change that.” Framebuilder Supply co-founder Tony Tapay added “We
realized that being in the same town as some of the country’s most influential builders would provide us with a great focus group, and that would help us serve builders everywhere.”
If you are in the Portland area, the launch party will be at the Velo Cult Bike Shop on Wednesday, February 18th at 7pm.