RIP Brink Distro

Earlier today, I learned that Brink Distribution, formerly 1664 Distribution, was going out of business. Home to S&M/Fit, T-1, Animal, Profile, United, 1664 Parts and more, Brink was a dedicated BMX business run by actual bike riders that put on contests, supported the scene in Edmonton and beyond and genuinely cared about BMX.

Yesterday, Canadian S&M flatland rider Pete Olsen stepped down from S&M and I just didn’t put two and two together. But he was sponsored by S&M through Brink, and with them closing up shop, he stepped down from his position. My brain didn’t go in that direction. It all makes sense now though.

I never really knew the guys at Brink past a few emails or shared beers many years ago, but I liked what they did and respected their contributions to BMX. There was this glorious time in BMX when the money was flowing a lot easier and Brink was actively putting back in, going to lengths such as flying Ryan Corrigan to Canada to build ramps for one of their jams. That kinda thing lets you really know that these guys knew what they’re doing and took the time to do things the right way, not the cheap way. I appreciated that.

Granted, I haven’t been to Canada since 2011. (It’s ridiculous, I know.) But it always felt like home to me, especially in the BMX sense. The contests were always amazing, the scene was full of real people that cared about BMX and the riders the country produced are some of the best in the world in every discipline of riding.

This all isn’t directly pointing at Brink, but they were part of that scene. They brought riders up into the scene, they imported some truly amazing brands along the way and they didn’t really seem hellbent on taking over BMX distribution in Canada. They had their piece and they were content with it. That was cool.

My heart sunk a bit in my chest when I read the news today though. “After 20 years in the bicycle industry Brink Distribution (formerly 1664 BMX Distribution) will be closing its doors on September 30th, 2017. We would like to personally thank all the dealers who have supported our brands over the years, the fantastic staff we have had an opportunity to work with, and of course, the brands that have trusted us to represent them in Canada. Check out our website for great deals on current stock or contact Sales directly for bigger discounts on larger volumes. We will continue to bring in stock for special orders until September 30th, contact Sales for assistance. Thank you and all the best.”

Yes, I’m an admirer of the Canadian BMX scene from afar, but this also felt like another indicator of a new era in the buying and selling of BMX and I’m not even sure what that new era looks like.

— Are BMX distributions soon to be a thing of the past?

— Are BMX sales really that flat?

— Are less people caring about BMX or riding bikes in general?

I really don’t know. I watched this documentary on Tower Records last night and how no one that worked at the brand really felt, in the end, like the end was coming or the writing was on the wall. They all thought it was business as usual and that they could coexist alongside digital music in the retail business.

Granted, the music industry had a lot farther to fall than the BMX industry, but sometimes, I feel like one of those employees, so immersed in what I’m doing that I fail to see the bigger picture of what’s happening at a realistic level.

I’m not ready to concede to another era of BMX dying just yet, but I’m keeping my eyes open. And to Brink Distro and the kind folk that worked on the brand, thanks for putting 20 years into BMX.