Over the Edge, under dynamic duo
Over the Edge Sports has become much more than a bike shop.
The Fruita business that opened in 1995 on the corner of East Aspen Avenue and Mulberry Street has become world-renowned through advertisements and mountain biking photos splashed across biking magazine pages.
Mountain bikers flocked to founder Troy Rarick’s shop. And with stores in Hurricane, Utah, and Melrose, Australia, Rarick found himself spread thin.
“The last five years have been compromised,” he said. “I was hardly ever here.”
As a result, Rarick recently turned over ownership of the original Over the Edge shop to George Gatseos and professional mountain biker Ross Schnell.
“Having Ross and George take over the shop is a good thing for Fruita,” said Chris Muhr, the Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association president.
“Ross has connections. His reputation is phenomenal. I’m sure he’ll bring in a new facet to Over the Edge.”
Gatseos says the partnership is a good fit.
“This is pretty unique,” Gatseos said. “There are very few people I would do a venture like this with, and Ross is probably one of two people. What Ross brings to the brand and store is very huge.”
Schnell, a Fruita Monument High School graduate, is one of the most accomplished cross country and downhill mountain-bike racers in the world. He is one of the rare mountain bikers who makes a living competing in races, and he often is involved in product launches and photo shoots across the globe. He originally was sponsored by Over the Edge Sports when his racing career started more than 10 years ago.
Schnell recently returned from teaching a mountain-biking camp in Whistler, British Columbia, and he is preparing to defend his Singlespeed World Championship title next month in Rotorua, New Zealand.
“I’m looking to the future when bike racing is done,” Schnell said of his Over the Edge Sports investment. “Regardless of that, the opportunity presented itself. It’s a good thing.
“Between George and I, we can bring a lot to the table. Him from the business side of things and I from the industry with my contacts. I can market Over the Edge Sports with my travels and my racing.”
Rarick, Schnell and Gatseos don’t plan on marketing Schnell’s name in the store’s name. Rather, he will continue to do what he’s been doing.
“I can promote the shop in Fruita through all my endeavors racing,” Schnell said. “I’ve been inherently doing it all along, traveling the world saying good things about Fruita.”
It could include logos on his racing uniform or through the media.
Gatseos once competed in mountain-bike racing, but now he’s a real estate broker. He has known Rarick and Schnell since he competed and worked at a bike shop in Denver. He started working for Rarick shortly after moving to Grand Junction to attend college. Back then, the shop sold kayaks and climbing gear.
A few years later, Rarick started the Fruita Fat Tire Festival. Since then, the shop changed into a bike shop exclusively.
“What Troy was able to do with Over the Edge was turn that shop into one of the most famous shops in the world,” said Nate Keck, former Mesa State College cyclist and coach. “You can travel just about anywhere and mention Over the Edge and Fat Tire Festival, and avid cyclists will know what you’re talking about.
“It started off as a small (shop) and exploded to what it is today, one of the largest mountain-bike festivals in the world. During the festival his shop is absolutely slammed. He’s contributed so much to the mountain bike community.”
Over the Edge doesn’t limit itself to selling a specific manufacturer’s bikes. Rather, the focus is on specific high-quality bikes custom-ordered.
“We can pinpoint what they are looking for and outfit them with anything they want,” Schnell said.
“In certain ways, we’ve not done the best job in serving the local enthusiasts. We’ve got famous around the world, and we see a ton of destination traffic. We started as local riders. We need to be a little more attentive to that.”
Rarick will continue to market the business around the world and possibly open more shops in mountain-bike destinations. He has a license agreement with the owners. He has an office in Fruita and will remain nearby.
The rest of the staff at the shop will be retained, Rarick said.