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Meet Tami & Chase of The Wheelhouse LA.

Thousand Bike Club: What does a day in the life look like?

Chase: Boy, our days don't really follow any standard but we do try to make time for a few important things. Meditation is big for both of us. For me, it's making pour over coffee which forces me to put down my phone, close the laptop and just focus on something slow and routine. For Tami, it's her actual meditation using the Headspace app. We take our dog out for walks throughout the day which helps force us to take some mental breaks. Each day we set aside some time to either eat together or get drinks together and catch up as husband & wife and not business partners. We also try and read each night before bed to give ourselves a rest from computer screens. The rest of the day is a cacophony of noise while we hustle to grow our businesses.

Tami: Between the two of us, we have four businesses. In addition to The Wheelhouse, I am an actor and have my own interior + event design firm, Pluck and Chase recently founded Ground Control where he works with creative entrepreneurs to build and scale their businesses. All are fairly new and growing- so there’s definitely a lot of hustling and running around, client meetings, team meetings, networking meetings, lots of coffee and lots of emails.

TBC: What's your favorite part of the day?                  

Tami: I love waking up early in the morning, before anyone else is up and the world is still quiet. I’ll be real honest here and admit this doesn’t always happen. I’m not a early riser by nature and some days getting an extra hour of sleep sounds way better than getting up and doing yoga and meditating, but my whole day is better when I do.

Chase: I love our evening walks. We usually hide some cocktails in a mug or something and take our dog Buckwheat on a walk and share our thoughts on the day.

TBC: Who are Tami and Chase?

Chase: Eek, I'm not sure we have the words for that. I'd say if there is a magic camera that records our insides (like on that episode of 30 Rock) you’d see Tami as a tiny introvert who just loves her books, quiet space and time to think and create things that delight people. And I’d pop on screen as a small muppet who bounces around talking to anyone who will listen, sharing his ideas for what the world could be.


TBC: What inspired you to become entrepreneurs?

Chase: I don't think either of us started out wanting to be entrepreneurs. Tami was an actor who found a passion for design and I loved working for companies where I got to tackle big exciting problems, got a stable paycheck and worked with brilliant people. At some point, I think we realized that in order to do the big things we wanted, we either had to settle for less, hope to get lucky or take control ourselves.

TBC:  Tell us about The Wheelhouse.

Tami:  Really, The Wheelhouse is an answer to the question Chase and I asked when we first started riding around LA- how do we get more people to do this? How do we create a culture where people ride bicycles to just get around? Where we landed was creating a space where riders and non-riders could come together in one place to connect, get inspiration and guidance for what a bike lifestyle could look like for them and where they could actually buy bikes and accessories meant for that style of riding. That, then turned into a bike shop + coffee shop that is now The Wheelhouse. We have a full coffee shop and a full service bike shop. The bikes we sell are all steel framed bikes meant for every day adventure and a very curated selection of accessories and products that marry form and function. We also have a full service department that can fix any bike, but really specializes in rebuilding the bike you already have to be the bike you actually ride.

TBC:  What's the story behind the name, The Wheelhouse?

Chase:  The name was really important to us. Ultimately we wanted something that, if you only heard the name, you would get an impression of what we were about. For us, that meant invoking a welcoming and approachable feeling of a familiar and safe place to ask questions, learn and explore something that often comes across as intimidating or like a club.

Tami:  It really lends itself to our mission and focus, which is to inspire you to build a bike and a lifestyle that reflects who you are and where you go, how it fits into your unique life- your wheelhouse. And communicate our expertise and our abilities in guiding people to this lifestyle - our wheelhouse.

TBC:  Best thing to happen since you started your company

Chase:  It has definitely been all the incredible people we've met- customers, staff, partners. There are so many incredible people that we've had the pleasure of working with as a result. It's this classic 1+1=3 situation. We get so much inspiration from the community that is building here.

Tami:  Definitely the people! We set out to build the bike shop we were looking for, but more than that, we’re building the community we wanted to be a part of. LA can be so disconnected and both Chase and I felt lost here for a really long time. I like to call the shop our Field of Dreams; Chase calls it his Sandlot. In creating this space, we’ve gotten to meet so many inspiring, interesting people doing amazing things that we now get to support and collaborate with.

TBC: Where and why you ride

Chase: Mostly we ride our bikes in the city commuting - to and from the shop, to coffee meetings, dropping off packages. On weekends we like to explore parts of the city on bikes because it allows us to be more spontaneous and stop wherever for whatever whenever. My dream is to get to where we can take enough time to tour the US and internationally on our bikes. We're getting close…

Tami: I love riding to run errands or grab drinks and exploring along the way. In a car, LA is destination to destination, but on a bike you can discover. You can turn down interesting side streets or spontaneously stop at a shop that looks interesting or a restaurant you’ve never seen. You see so much more and you feel like you’re a part of the fabric of the city.

TBC: Were you always into cycling

Chase: I was obsessed with bikes as a kid. When I was little, I did my first face plant out in front of my house racing up and down the street trying to impress the 10 year old girl next door. I would pour over bike magazines and catalogues and my favorite days were where my dad and I would go mountain biking and then we'd go to the local bike shop and check out all their stuff. It was always about the community though. I liked biking but what I loved was riding with my friends or pedaling to the ball field to play baseball, riding with my dad. I later got into 4x4 trucks for the same reason and ultimately came back to bikes.

Tami: I grew up in a tiny midwestern town where we would ride our bikes to the library and the candy store and explore down back country roads looking for, well, treasure, I suppose. Bikes, for me, were always about exploring and living those daily adventures.

TBC: Favorite Thousand product

Chase: Ooooh the Carbon Black helmet is my speed but lately I'm obsessed with the gloves. If only they made some sweet vintage sweatshirts…

Tami: My Stay Gold helmet! But I think I may also need a Willowbrook Mint or Nordic Wood to add to my collection. You know, for options.

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