Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Werkin' in a Winter Wonderland!

It's a cold, snowy day here in the Old Line State capital city. TrailWerks Cyclery is in month 8 of operation. We opened a few hours late to let the road conditions improve and will close early for safety.

Safety first then teamwork.

Since taking possession of the 'C' unit of 304 Harry S Truman Parkway back in April, we've had an amazing ride. So much work, a bit of fun, new friends and a ton of work. With help...

We started the build-out as soon as we got the keys. Internet, vendor stuff, phone, work benches, tools, stands, fixtures... We were lucky enough to have some help during our pre-opening preparations. I say 'luck' but there may have been some construction, demolition and general hand-lending over the years that has built me up a bit of positive karma. Guilt is an amazing motivational force I guess. JJ worked his magic on the cedar plank that would become our service bar, Matty brought up a bunch of 2x4s from the far reaches of Harrisonburg to build the workbenches, Jamie brought his painting and electrical skills learned in law school and honed in Treasury, Rob built a quiet-box and Trev built our  Rogue Tools display and the cash wrap. Susan led the way on the wall decals and kept the home fires burning with the kids and delivered food to the dirty, smelly work crew. It was my goal to get the build-out complete in four weeks so we could soft-open well before the grand opening. Things stayed on track and it allowed me the chance to disappear to celebrate with a ride in the 'burg with Matty. TrailWerks Cyclery was off to a good start.

Our Grand Opening was on May 16, Bike To Work Day. TrailWerks was scheduled to be a pit stop for the local BTWD celebrations only to be met with a cold rain and cancellation. Comptroller Franchot dragged a few local dignitaries in for the ribbon cutting with most of my family making the trip over for the big day. Nothing says good luck like rain and politicians! We had a lot of old friends stop by on opening weekend to help us celebrate. It just wouldn't have been a proper event without photos from JoFo Photography. Thanks JoFo! Will and Max jumped in to let me leave the shop every now and again.

TrailWerks was envisioned as a service-first west-coast or mountain-state style bike shop. Even the name was inspired by my buddy's shop in San Jose, CA - Trail Head Cyclery. Customers warmed up quickly to the new shop in town. We filled up our repair schedule with builds and suspension work in no time at all. There's been a pent up demand for a shop with mountain bike experience and the floodgates opened for us. Or on us. Not sure how to spin that metaphor. But it was good.

One thing that we knew would suffer was time. Opening a new business takes A LOT of time. TrailWerks is open 57 hours a week. I was working that many hours without counting before opening and after closing to finish repairs, build bikes and do paperwork. Time with the family and riding were suffering to be sure. It was great to have Susan and the kids come to the shop to spend time with me. I'm very lucky to have a supportive family. You'll still see somebody from the family in the shop on a regular basis. I also managed to slip out for a few days riding dh at Mountain Creek and Snowshoe, participate in the Patapsco and MoCo Epics and finish the SM100 again. Slowly... And somewhere along the way, I turned 40. What a year!

As we slide through the slow, cold months of winter, there's time to think back on our first full season of being open and serving our customers. The thought that constantly swirls through my head is one of disbelief. I can't believe that I own a bike shop. I can't believe that it has been anything close to a success. I can't believe how many awesome people have come in to my shop, both old friends and new ones. I can't believe how friggin cold it gets in here on days like today!

It's early 2015 and we are already thinking of the busy, warm months. There is a lot of planning going in to our 2015 event calendar, be it racing, clinics, another bike swap and a few other surprises. Some things will never change: TrailWerks will continue to offer quick turnaround on the most difficult services. We will continue to spend time with our customers. We will continue to be friendly and welcoming. And we will continue to offer the best products.

So let me say 'thank you' to all of you. Every email, phone call and visit to the shop has been an honor. There are a lot of bike shops in the area and we appreciate every opportunity we get to earn your business. So keep checking in with us. And we hope to see you on the trail in 2015.

Happy New Year and thanks again. We'll see you somewhere soon.


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