Prism Supply Co. was born out of obsession. But it’s an obsession that’s been passed down. When the Hindes brothers were tiny, their dad brought home an old dirt bike from the flea market. He fired it up, threw the oldest onto the bike, and told him to “go for a ride.”
“I went for a ride, alright,” Zach, who was barely four-years-old at the time, recalls.
Zach drove full throttle up a tree, toppled off his ride, and hit the ground hard on his back—before earning some nasty burns on his leg when the bike came crashing down on top of him.
Jake Hindes says his older brother’s unfortunate encounter with a tree is one of his earliest memories. But that wreck didn’t have the deterring effect you might think, for either brother: They were hooked.
Evening after dusky evening, the sounds of two-stroke engines and whooping, hollering boys filled the rural Hindes property on the outskirts of Charlotte.
A deep fascination with motors, passed down from their father, informed the whole of their childhood. Evening after dusky evening, the sounds of two-stroke engines and whooping, hollering boys filled the rural Hindes property on the outskirts of Charlotte. Every free hour was spent tearing up the dirt—when they weren’t in their dad’s shop, that is.
Chris Hindes, a classic car and bike enthusiast himself, imposed only one major rule on his kids’ motorcycle obsession: “If you’re gonna ride it, you’d better know how to work on it.” The Hindeses have spent as much time dismantling motorcycles as they have riding them.
“We had to figure it out…” Zach recalls. “Well, we attempted to, at least. A lot of things got taken apart but not necessarily put back together.”
They’ve pretty much got the hang of it these days, though. Coming off of high-speed early careers working with elite race teams—Zach a welder-fabricator, Jake a machinist—the brothers started Prism Supply Co. in 2012, a flourishing parts manufacturing business that doubles as a custom motorcycle building operation.
Along with their tight-knit brotherhood of machinists, they operate out of a spacious shop in Charlotte’s Camp North End, a revitalized old industrial park that once produced the Ford Model T and Hercules missiles. On a given morning, the shop houses four to five in-progress custom projects—various American-style bikes being updated, restored, or constructed from the ground up—which are not to be confused with the custom jobs parked casually outside, still warm from the crew’s various commutes. Those aren’t for sale.
The custom stuff is a minor operation, of course, compared to the hundreds of intricate motorcycle parts, big and small, that Prism fabricates daily. Blocks of metal get machined into everything from aluminum sissy bars and handlebars to tiny, brass petcock valves, but Prism doesn’t stop there. Their vast online store offers upholstered leather seats, vintage electrical wiring, a ton of lighting options, and even a line of ultra-trendy apparel.
Despite Prism Supply’s newness, the brothers have found a bit of a sweet spot in their business endeavor: Each facet of their work informs the other. The part fabrication side of the business was originally born out of custom work the brothers were doing for themselves on the side. Now, the custom jobs are the best showcase for the fidelity of their parts. The Prism team never stops learning because every custom project teaches them something new.
“If we weren’t working on these custom projects, we’d never expand the parts we produce. We’d never say, ‘Okay, we need to create this new part to fix this issue,’ because we’d never know of the issue. Plus, you have to have a good sense of style in motorcycles to be able to create stylish parts.”
Prism Supply Co. is part of a multi-industry movement toward a revival of handcrafted, American-made goods—a shift that everyone involved seems immensely proud to be part of.
And with these machines, style is everything. While Jake heads up the day-to-day business, Zach specializes in all the high-skill fabrication no one else can do—the kind of metalworking art that consistently garners widespread attention. Unlike in recent years, this sort of craft is beginning to turn heads. Prism Supply Co. is part of a multi-industry movement toward a revival of handcrafted, American-made goods—a shift that everyone involved seems immensely proud to be part of. Products made right here at home are cool again, and anything made with passion is in demand.
The whole brand is on-trend, no doubt, but Jake and Zach insist that they’re not just a brand. For the brothers, it’s about recapturing culture, and not just through American-style motorcycles.
“We’re into American style as a whole,” Jake says. “That old Americana lifestyle is what we really love, and that’s what drives all of this.”
Their company culture is one of tattoos and denim, of campfire meetings and shotgun team-building and Blue Ridge retreats.
Truthfully, the motorcycles—even the brothers’ beloved 1950s-era Harley panheads—are just a single symptom of that Americana obsession. Their company culture is one of tattoos and denim, of campfire meetings and shotgun team-building and Blue Ridge retreats. And the thing that keeps the whole engine running may be the most red-blooded American tradition of them all: It’s a family business, in the truest sense. Stop by the old brick building on one of their shop nights, and you’ll catch the whole Prism outfit flipping burgers with friends and loved ones, throwing back domestics to the oh-so-familiar drawl of Waylon Jennings—looking very much like the motley crew that they are, but also like something a little more lasting than that. Prism Supply Co. doesn’t stop being a family at five o’clock.