Wandering Star was a born on a beautiful Thursday morning in the Spring of 2019. Kevin and I were both playing hooky from work, riding our gravel bikes out to the Hollister Basin and back. The sun was shining, the temperature hadn't hit 80 yet, and the wind was at our backs. It was a perfect beginning to a day that would change our lives, and we didn't even know it yet.
Kevin and I have been friends for years, ever since he wandered into my bike shop back in 2010 and became a fixture almost overnight. He and I have pedaled countless miles together, told each other a thousand stories, and I stood in his wedding a few years before his wife gave my son his very first haircut. Maybe we were destined from the very beginning to become business partners.
I've co-owned Blue Line Bike Lab, which is pretty much the best bike shop ever, since we opened in 2005. Kevin is a graphic artist and screen printer, and runs the world-famous Green Swallow Creations. He's been doing all of our graphics and making our T-shirts and hats for the bike shop for the last24 decade, so when he floated the idea to put a custom T-shirt and watch shop into the little rental space I had next to the bike shop it planted a seed. We spent that morning talking about what we could do in there, and even though the sun was shining and the birds were singing we parted ways at the end of that ride without any plans to move forward with his plan.
If you know me, you know that once something sticks inside my brain I have a hard time letting go of it, and tend to follow my ideas at a furious pace without any actual plans or research. Well, the seed that Kevin had planted inside my mind didn't take long to start sprouting and taking on a life and shape of it's own, and a few weeks later Kevin and I were sitting around at Down House on an August afternoon having a cup of iced coffee, and I told him that I'd be interested in partnering with him for a shop, but only if it would be more of an outdoor supply shop with our own strong branding and maybe even our own line of custom clothing. He looked a little incredulous, but he agreed to it and the we started working on it the very next day.
We spent the entire months of September and October building out our new outdoor gear and supply store, and talking to sales reps to line up the brands that we wanted to represent. Tropical Storm Imelda swung through at the end of September and tried to derail us, washing about five inches of filthy water through our half-built space, but we pushed though it like native Houstonians and had our fixtures in and our space laid out by the first week of November. Somewhere along the way we came to the realization that our 1,500 feet of retail space wasn't going to be big enough for us to carry all of the cool camping and hiking gear that we'd envisioned, so we scaled our concept back to be mostly casual outdoor clothing and cool outdoor accessories like day packs and knives, and that's where we are today.
Please come by and become a member of our community. We'd love to share stories with you, and hopefully you'll find that perfect piece of kit for your next adventure and a lifetime of great memories. #Seekyourstar! -Fred Zapalac, Wandering Star Adventure Emporium