- Is there a contest at the end of this post? (Yes, no skipping though...read the whole post!)
- What is RIDEMAKERZ, Boymom?
- Who's the genius that thought this thing up?
- Did you meet any other cool people?
- What did you do there?
- Why is RIDEMAKERZ so cool?
- Is it really as fun as you make it sound?
- Why didn't I get invited to the Sneek Preview?
- Will girls like RIDEMAKERZ?
- Will you go back to RIDEMAKERZ?
- How can I get me some RIDEZ...is there a location near me?
People, PLEASE! Calm down and I will answer your questions in an orderly manner.
What is RIDEMAKERZ, Boymom? RIDEMAKERZ is like Build-A-Bear for boys, only with vehicles. Adults who are into cars will love it too! The basic premise is that kids of all ages get to go into a RIDEMAKERZ shop and build a vehicle from the ground up, then "trick out" their ride with accessories. RIDEMAKERZ rocks.
Who's the genius that thought this up? Ooh! Ooh! (She says as she wildly waves her raised hand in the air) I know this one! Because I met him! His name is Larry Andreini. He was at the Sneek Preview. He's the "ZEO" of RIDEMAKERZ. I asked him how he came up with the idea. Read here to see how it all went down. Larry is a super nice guy. He's really an unassuming, relaxed person. He talked to my boys and shook their hands and thanked me for taking the time to check out the store. Did you hear me people? He thanked me. He lets me come check out the store at a special sneak preview for free, and thanks me for being there. Plus, how many CEOs do you know who would come hang out at one of their stores and personally greet people? Not many. Larry Rocks.
Larry, the Boys and Jeff
Did you meet any other cool people there? Why yes! Yes I did! One of RIDEMAKERZ public relations guys is Jeff Bachman. Jeff was my initial contact with the company and he arranged for our visit to the shop. Jeff was so polite and attentive, he made sure when we first arrived that we had the chance to talk to Larry and get a few pics, then he walked us all the way through the process. He was so good with the boys, extremely patient. In fact, Little Man ended up having an issue with his first vehicle and Jeff helped him pick out a new one and get it built while I was helping Big Brother and talking to another cool guy, whom I will get to in a minute. I kinda felt bad when I got home and realized how much time Jeff took to make sure Little Man was happy while I was otherwise engaged! Jeff is great with kids...he will be a good dad someday. Like I said, Jeff was really polite and attentive. He took the time to answer all of our questions and made sure our experience at RIDEMAKERZ was worth our trip. And he's pretty easy on the eyes. Just thought I'd throw that in there. Jeff rocks.
Larry and Lee
The other guy I met while I was there is Lee Nadler. Lee is the ZMO (Chief Marketing Officer) and a really good guy. When I said earlier that I was busy helping Big Brother, that is only partially true. I kind of got distracted with thoughts of my blog and taking pictures of the shop for this post, so Lee stepped in to help out Big Brother while Jeff was working out Little Man's vehicle issues. Lee answered a lot of questions and we talked alot about how they worked to fine-tune the experience for the kids building their rides. Lee was extremely helpful in guiding Big Brother. Lee took a picture of me and Big Brother together, which I suppose needed to be done for the sake of the blog, but that one act almost knocked Lee off of the “people at RIDEMAKERZ who rock” list. I’m kidding, Lee! In his defense, I did say he could take the picture…I didn’t want to unload my issues on Lee. He seems too nice to be traumatized by my "lack of hot momness" issues, so I just went with it. He is such a genuinely caring person with the customers that you can’t not like the guy! Again, how impressive is it that the CMO was at the store to help?! Lee rocks, even with the picture taking incident.
Boymom and Big Brother Accessorizing
And finally, while all of the Crew Members at the shop were awesome and very helpful, Reggie really stood out for his efforts with Big Brother. Reggie was Big Brother's Crew Chief. Reggie took a lot of time to educate Big Brother on the inner workings of his Ride, which was good, because when we got home, Big Brother was the only one who knew where all the stuff was and how to put it together because Reggie did such a good job! Reggie was happy and upbeat and a really fun guy, which are all great qualities when you are working with kids all day. Reggie rocks.
Reggie and Kendra - the Boys' Crew Chiefs
Oh...I have to mention Kendra here, who was Little Man's Crew Chief. She was so patient and continued to try to work out the issues with the first vehicle, which they later determined had a technical issue. But she stuck with it the whole way and she and Jeff worked together to get Little Man's 2nd choice up and running very quickly. Kendra was really calm and very cute and I appreciate her efforts to make sure Little Man had something that worked. Kendra rocks.
What did you do there? I'll let Chip Foose show you in this video, where he walks you through the whole process. RIDEMAKERZ works with Chip Foose, who builds real live “Rides” on Learning Channel’s hit show ‘Overhaulin’. Chip consults with RIDEMAKERZ to help them create cool vehicular concepts. (That would be my description of what Chip does, I’m not sure those would be Chip’s exact words. I think it sounds cool though, so that’s how it’s goin’ down on this post). We didn’t get to meet Chip…maybe next time. I'm guessing Chip rocks, but do not have personal knowledge of that fact.
Why is RIDEMAKERZ so cool? Because I Am Boymom and I said so. Okay, really there are myriad of reasons. For one thing, it's really geared toward boys. It's very hands on, every vehicle is unique because the kids choose their own accessories. You make your ride a free wheel vehicle or remote controlled vehicle. You can choose to make it "Street" or "Monster." They have so many different accessories that you could totally remake your Ride every few months. It's a very progressive, evolutionary product. I like the fact that I can use the possibility of picking out some new accessories as a motivation for good behavior or reward for chores, whatever.
Brother chose Monster, Little Man chose Street, both chose remote control
As weird as it sounds, there are some educational benefits. My boys learned alot while they were there about how toys are made. They also learned the names of lots of auto accessories and of particular note, they had the opportunity to be creative in a more masculine environment. I think it's hard sometimes for boys to express their creativity the way they would like to in public. RIDEMAKERZ gives them an outlet to do this.
Another reason RIDEMAKERZ is so cool is because they thought through lots of little details. Like the fact that the decals are repositionable. Hellooo? How awesome is that? No little sticky pieces of paper getting peeled off and stuck to my tile or carpet or walls. It also means they can keep the old set of decals and save them if they want to change the look of the vehicle again down the road.
Big Brother and Cool Decal Chick tricking out his ride
The cool factor is also derived from the fact that many of the accessories are magnetized, so switching out things like engines and hood scoops and adding police lights are no big deal, they just stick right to the vehicle and are easily removed.
At the end of the process, you register you vehicle. You get a RIN, a Ride Identification Number, which is unique to your vehicle. You type out your own license plate and they print out a certificate of ownership for you to keep. Then later, you can get on the internet and look up your model and try out various accessories. At some point in the future RIDEMAKERZ plans to include interactive features like racing against other RIDEZ via internet. My boys will love that!
Big Brother registers his RIDE
Lastly, even if you aren't a kid, if you love cars you will love RIDEMAKERZ. It's a great place for dads and their boys to spend an afternoon bonding. I could totally picture a group of guys or a bunch of car enthusiasts hanging out and having a "night" here, building a really cool ride and talking shop. It's a fun atmosphere for car lovers. Car enthusiasts Rock.
John, Shelly and Casey sharing some family fun at RIDEMAKERZ
Is it really as fun as you make it sound? Umm, yeah! Would I lie? I got to build my own ride too, it was a blast! Probably one of the most enjoyable things we have done in a very long time.
Why didn't I get invited to the Sneek Preview? Because I Am Boymom and I Rock. There's only room for one Rockin' Boymom at a time at such a great event. Maybe next time, fellow Boymom.
Will girls like RIDEMAKERZ? Yeah, if they like cars. They have some girl body styles and colors and some really girly decals and accessories. Girls can definitely do RIDEMAKERZ. Girls also work at RIDEMAKERZ.
Will you go back to RIDEMAKERZ? Duh! They have fantastic cars and and the Crew rocks! My family has found a new hangout. I'm gonna have to learn some "car enthusiast" language so I sound like I have my Street Creds. I gots to be legit, yo.
How can I get me some RIDEZ...is there a location near me? Check out the website to see if there is a location near you.
This would be the CONTEST PART! If you live in the Phoenix Arizona general area, I happen to have a coupon for a free RIDE, courtesy of RIDEMAKERZ but it is only good for the Phoenix location and it expires on Halloween. So all you Phoenix Moms better get on the stick and leave a comment because this mini-contest ends Tuesday at midnight! Contests Rock.
I gotta go play with my RIDE now.