Phat Scooters was recently featured on MSN and the Arizona Republic as we celebrated our move to our new three acre facility near Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix.
Phoenix's Phat Scooters are a hit with the public — and NFL quarterbacks
Russ Wiles, Arizona Republic
Peter Johnson took a ride four years ago that changed his life.
He was tooling around the Arcadia neighborhood on a electric scooter from China that a friend had bought when he noticed a lot of attention from people in the area.
"Within a mile, we got stopped maybe 15 times by people asking what we were riding," Johnson said. "I knew there was something there."
Johnson now sells customized electric scooters through Phat Scooters, a Phoenix company that he founded with two partners. Johnson expects to sell 3,000 of the mini, wide-tire vehicles this year at prices ranging from about $2,400 to $6,000. Sales might double next year, he forecasts.
Fast out the gate
Phat Scooters logged 22 sales the first day a shipment of scooters arrived from China, and the pace hasn't let up. The company has gone from a handful of employees to more than 60 in less than four years.
Customers include businesses and consumers of all ages, said Rick Johnson, Peter's father and the chief operating officer of Phat Scooters. "We sell to a lot of old guys who used to ride Harleys but can't get their legs over the bike anymore," he said.
Quarterbacks Kyler Murray of the Arizona Cardinals and Dak Prescott of the Dallas Cowboys have bought scooters for their offensive linemen, Rick Johnson said. Various other athletes and celebrities have become customers, too.
The company promotes its scooters in various ways and even has a reality-TV show in the works. More information on that, pricing and options can be seen at https://phatscooters.com. Phat Scooters also sells on Shopify and through other outlets.
Competitors include Skooza and other companies, including those based in China.
Business applications range from pizza deliveries to police patrolling in crowded areas.
Phat Scooters was helped by the COVID-19 pandemic in a couple of ways. For one, the scooters can be equipped to carry golf bags and thus make a good option for golf courses seeking to promote social distancing among customers. They're less heavy and expensive than regular carts yet still offer a comfortable ride.
"It's like riding a couch," said professional golfer Pat Perez in a testimonial on the company's website.
Also, the pandemic has meant a lot of people are suddenly working from home with time on their hands, looking for fun things to do.
The scooters can be ridden in bicycle lanes and sidewalks without a license or registration, Rick Johnson said. They weigh up to about 180 pounds, go up to 20 miles per hour and can run 30 to 50 miles without a charge. Charging can be done on standard electrical outlets.
Phat Scooters doesn't leave vehicles lying around public spaces for rent, though some companies that have purchased scooters lease them at beach areas and other tourist places.
The company recently moved into a three-acre facility south of Sky Harbor International Airport, at 3637 E. Miami Ave. in Phoenix, where it tests and inspects the scooters after they arrive from China. Prospective customers can take a test drive at the location.
Phat Scooters is working to bring more of its scooter production to North America. It recently started making scooter frames in Mexico and will soon make motors there. Electrical-wiring harnesses will be purchased from a metro-Phoenix supplier.
Chinese imports are subject to tariffs ranging from 10% to 28%, depending on the part, Rick Johnson added. Manufacturing in North America thus could help the company save money, improve quality and have better control over its supply chain.
"We're trying everything we can to put these (shipments) on a truck rather than a ship," he said.
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