Building an Empire: Shop Visit to Empire BMX Apr 11, 2011


Where do I ever start with this shop? How about a little background? Tom opened Empire with his wife nearly 8 years ago and in that short time period, they’ve nestled themselves into a cornerstone position for the BMX industry. With a mile-long list of loyal companies and supporters, Tom’s not only built a storefront and a successful online shop, he’s built an Empire in Austin. After moving up north a few miles, the shop has more than enough space to grow and it’s only the beginning.

Check out more photos from my Shop Visit to Empire BMX below!


As an architect, I’m always interested in how bike shops are organized. It’s a program that offers many unique approaches and design opportunities.


For example integrating a pump track in your storefront.


And displaying complete BMX bikes on it.


This is one of the best storefront displays I’ve seen in person and it’s a perfect application.


Not bad huh?


Continuing the design dialog is this massive piece of casework. It holds many of the same lines as the storefront display but contains all of the components and accessories needed to build a BMX.


It snakes its way around the store, from front to back.


Lining the shelves are sprockets, hubs and other parts in a rainbow of colors.


Again, the lines just flow.


One of the toughest parts to display are forks and this is the best solution to the problem I’ve seen to date.


Hubs are all lined up.


….and if you follow the cabinet around, you come to a stack of rims.


Where the guys will gladly lace you up some custom wheels.

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The shoe section is filled with everyone’s favorite brands.


Including the Vans x Empire joints.


And if branded merch is your thing, they’ve got your back (and arms) covered.


As well as stickers, tees and other products. I know a man who buys an Empire tee every time he visits the shop.


And these cases are filled with other accessories. Everything from patches, to wax, to DVDs and u-locks.


But Empire isn’t just a storefront. They also run a high-volume online shop. Here’s where Tom packs each order himself.


And back here, there are boxes everywhere.


Further back in their massive warehouse is a bike-building station where customer’s BMX bikes are assembled by hand.


With some ready to be picked up.


The shop’s open Monday through Friday, 11am till 7pm and Saturday 11am till 6pm. Their address is 6310 N. Lamar Blvd.


You can’t miss it.


No, really. It’s impossible to miss! Check out a ton of additional photos below (you can’t see the slideshow through RSS so click here to check it out).

Get the flash player here:

These photos are also at my Flickr.

Visit Empire online or in person at:

Empire BMX
6310 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78752
Phone: 512.474.4BMX (4269)

And please, follow Empire on Twitter @EmpireBMX. It’s an experience like none other.

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