Success Story: Rob Everitt and Community Bikes and Boards
Rob Everitt fell in love with bikes when he was five or six years old. “It’s the only thing I don’t get tired of,” he says. “To be able to work and be around what I love every day is great.” Since he was a paperboy as a child, he always knew that he wanted to run his own business. He loved the idea of having freedom, particularly not having a boss.
Rob is the owner of Community Bikes and Boards in Philadelphia’s bustling South Street, a one-stop shop which specializes in mountain and freeride downhill mountain bikes, as well as city bikes, and long boards. Rob’s aim is to make the shop a cool destination for bikers and boarders: “Come here for your bike, boards, and apparel needs,” he says. “It’s the most exciting bike/skate shop in the city.” The business also includes a graphic design and screen printing service, including custom t-shirts and other swag materials. Prior to opening Community Bikes and Boards, Rob honed his skills as a graphic designer for his brother’s business.
Rob initially requested consulting from the Widener University Small Business Development Center in March 2010. At the time, his concept was only a small idea and needed the necessary guidance to turn his dream into fruition. With the assistance of Jim Porter, Consulting Manager and Business Consultant at the SBDC, they developed a comprehensive business plan outlining the steps needed to begin his business. Rob was also referred to Toni Truehart of Entrepreneur Works, a micro-lender and business partner of the center, in order to secure financing for his building. He also participated in a class project with Senior Management students from the Business School at Widener University to develop a marketing plan to increase revenues.
After implementing the recommendations and guidance from the SBDC, The Community Bikes and Boards team has been growing. Rob currently has one part-time mechanic on board, as well as two interns. Louie, the dog, is also a permanent fixture in the shop. There is a painting of Louie displayed proudly behind the front desk.
The business has also found a way to give back to the children in the surrounding communities. Rob currently offers a program for kids from 6th to 12th grade to receive free lessons in music and art for shopping at the business. This is done by the children earning “Community Loot,” where the kids can choose a lesson such as a repair or skills clinic for every $200 they spend.
Moving forward, Rob has aspirations to attract more customers to the shop, specifically of the younger generation, and eventually expand the business to include more locations. His advice to other potential entrepreneurs: “If you believe in it, stay positive about it and give it everything you have…it will be great!”
The SBDC made my dream become true! They turned it into a professional business plan. I only had the idea, and they made it come to life the right way!
- Rob Everitt
Please visit Community! www.communitybikesandboards.com