Park Tool Celebrates 50th Anniversary

Company Spotlight

Park Tool is a brand name well known in the bike industry for quality and durability. Our very own Mtbr work shop is stocked with the Park Tool PK-65 kit and PRS-25 repair stand. Walk into ANY bike shop and you will find Park Tools. Every year at Interbike, we see the latest and greatest from Park and they had some pretty cool products on display including their all new power lift stand and other new innovations. This year marks their 50th Anniversary for Park Tool and they have created a retrospective video on the history and legacy of how they came to be.

Park Tool co-founders Art Engstrom and Howard Hawkins discuss how the seeds for the company were planted in the back of a little bike shop (Hazel Park Bicycle) on the east side of St. paul, MN in 1956 (the company became incorporated in 1963). Their very first tool was a “rudimentary” repair stand that changed the industry forever.

From their humble beginnings, Art and Howard excelled. Their bike shop became the biggest Schwinn dealer in the country. Recognizing the need for quality tools that made life easier, simpler and quicker for the bike mechanic, they built a brand that soon became known for quality products that worked and were delivered on time. From the original two employees in 1963, Park Tool now has about 50 employees today and is a worldwide recognized brand.

It is interesting to see how such a vintage company can use the latest technology to stay at the top of the bike industry with its ever changing landscape.

Howard Hawkin’s son Eric is the President and CEO of Park Tool and he sums it up by saying, “We’ve been extremely blessed over the years. We have a successful business and there’s still a lot to do and there’s a lot of things that we can do as a company to get better. If you want to narrow it down and say this is our mission, I’d say it’s to make the best tools we can, to be innovative, to stay on top of the changes in a fast-changing industry, and to have fun doing it. We believe we’re going to be around for another 50 years.

We here at Mtbr would like to give thanks to all the Park Tool guys that we know personally (Calvin, Bill, Eric) and to your co-workers for building such awesome products that make even the most menial tasks of bike maintenance just THAT much easier and yes…fun.

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About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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