September 9, 2013
Big day for us yesterday! The Herald-Sun published a beautiful article, complete with photographs and contact information: "Peddling Forward." (See cover photo below.) We love how personal it is—really tells our story well. Thanks, Mr. Hawkins!
In other news, given a steady stream of work from the local community, and since we have (for the time being) mastered QuickBooks 2013, our new focus is on project management and quality control. We bought a whiteboard and drew a grid on it to help us see, in a more prominent way, what's come in, when, and from whom, plus mechanic's notes and a "ready to call" column. Got about five in the queue right now. Thanks, Hillsborough!
One last thing: We've discovered that our best source of new work is Facebook. Surprise, surprise! We're not even kicking any advertising budget that direction. So please, if you can, "like" us at our page and help us get the word out.
July 15, 2013
Busy, busy, busy. We're posting updates on Facebook more frequently, but here you can find essential information like our rate card and directions to the shop. If you've got a bike you want us to repair or renew, please stop by between 10 and 6 any day but Sunday.
And if you're in the market for a bike, let us know! We're finding that about half of our work so far is custom builds tailored to people's unique bicycle needs. We'll help you find just the right frame or older bicycle to customize to your exact requirements, within a very reasonable budget. Hope to post some testimonials soon.
June 26, 2013
As of today, we are OPEN FOR BUSINESS. Stop by any time between 10am and 6pm or call us on our new land-line at 919.644.0000.
And be sure to check out this PDF of the feature story about Hillsborough Bicycle in last week's News of Orange County!
June 18, 2013
Great news—our funding goal of $3500 has been met and even exceeded!! A lot is happening, and we hope to open our doors soon. Here's a rundown:
The biggest news is that we're now an LLC in the great State of North Carolina, registered for sales and use tax. We've also applied for liability insurance (should come through today or tomorrow), opened a business checking account, almost completed updating our physical space so it's ready for customers (thanks to help from cousin John Cole and some of Eli's friends), ordered t-shirts, a 20"x30" aluminum sign, and are in the process of joining QBP so that we can get all the tools and supplies we need to fix our first few bicycles.
Although we've decided not to go on RAGBRAI this year, due to a pressing need to keep Hillsborough Bicycle open during that time, we did have fun last Saturday riding in Tour de Fat.
If you'd like to read our story, see below. For all other information, from business plan to rate card, see sitewide navigation.
May 14, 2013
My son Elijah and I are opening a bike repair shop in Hillsborough, North Carolina. It's a quaint little 259-year-old town on the Eno River with riders coming through almost daily, but there are no bicycle shops within 15 miles.
Elijah has been working at the Durham Bike Co-op twice to three times a week for the past year and has the skill and passion of a true bike geek. He can not only repair and maintenance almost any bike, he knows the best parts and where to get them, and he has built numerous bikes from the frame up.
Last summer we rode on RAGBRAI, the annual bike tour across Iowa, almost 500 miles of father-son bonding time. The acid test? I rode a bike he'd built from a generic Nashbar frame, and it was the smoothest ride I've ever experienced. I'd only done RAGBRAI once before, but I'd commuted quite a bit and owned several bikes. Thank you, Elijah!
We found a cool but small location in historic downtown Hillsborough, in the back of a mom-and-pop hardware store. We need help starting this shop. We need an investor or two to help us with startup expenses such as rent, tools, shop supplies, and various incorporation and membership fees. The total is going to be around $3000 to get started. Once we're going, I think we'll keep cruising, because we want to expand into retail and custom refurbs.
Email me if you'd like to see our first-draft business plan. We're open to suggestions and needful of support. Thank you.
May 15, 2013
Only one offer of support for this project thus far, but that isn't surprising, because I haven't done anything but tweet the link once, and it's been less than a day since I created this site. Two updates are in order, however:
- I walked down to Dual Supply Co., the mom-and-pop hardware that's agreed to rent us its back workspace, and paid Wesley Woods, the proprietor, $200 for June. We'll have it free to set up between now and the end of May. Mr. Woods is an older fellow and wonderfully North Carolinian. We love him. He says he's been talking up our project to some of his friends and might have one or two repairs for us already in the works.
- On Monday, Elijah Craigslisted a late-nineties Quintana Roo time trial bike with aero bars he had acquired for $40 and spent about $70 repairing. He asked $350, and yesterday we drove to Durham to sell it for $300. So, first month's rent covered. Also a hint of how viable Elijah's eye and skills are in this market. See silly pre-sale photo below (before he makes me take it down).
Still working on the biz plan. Most of the numbers crunched, but I want it to be more bulletproof before sharing.
May 28, 2013
Spent the past week starting an Indiegogo campaign, setting up HB's Facebook and Twitter, delivering a bike to a customer and finding a new project to work on — a Schwinn Circuit in great condition, courtesy of Richmond, VA Craigslist. Elijah disconnected the brakes and has been riding it around & running into stuff.
Last night we met with Tony Fernandez, local entrepreneur, who gave us a lot of very sound advice about how to get going. In addition to SCORE, we have a lot of terrific resources for guidance and mentorship.
We need to focus on crowdfunding and setting up our shop now. Drop a line if you think to!