In an old roller rink on the outskirts of downtown Brighton, Michigan, walls splashed with vibrant colors and bike-themed gifts welcome bicycle enthusiasts. Most people who walk through the door are greeted by name and their smiles add to the fun and cozy atmosphere. This is Hometown Bicycles LLC, owned and operated by the husband and wife duo, Shaun and Dawn. After nine years, their path to creating a well-loved business has been quite a ride.
Dawn and Shaun cite much of their success to the service they’ve modeled their entire operation on. With over 22,000 bike repairs performed since 2010, Hometown Bicycles has made quite an impression on the local community. However, it’s clear that people don’t just visit the store to shop or get their bikes fixed: They come for the sense of belonging and human connection.
The Hometown Bicycles story has roots dating back to Shaun’s childhood. Since he was too young to help his uncle work on cars, Shaun started tinkering with bikes. His love of biking stuck with him, so he jumped on the opportunity to lease a building and start his own shop many years later. At the time, Dawn was working as a graphic designer. But soon the new cycling business took off and she knew it was time to jump all in.
So what was Hometown Bicycles doing differently when other cycling stores were dying?
Most bike stores focus solely on sales and only service the bikes that they sell. The staff at Hometown Bicycles, however, realize that great service can leave a big impression.
Shaun puts it simply: “The value that we offer people has to be greater than the price.
Customers can (of course) purchase a bike anywhere, but they’ll always need another human to service their ride. While learning about the scope of work that’s required on each repair, the team at Hometown Bicycles actually takes the time to get to know their customers. They’re on a mission to bring humanity back into the world of retail and their excellent service is just one of the many ways they’ve accomplished this goal.
Dawn compares their service philosophy to the classic TV program, The Andy Griffith Show.
“The Andy Griffith Show takes place in the small town of Mayberry, where neighbors know each other by name, help each other out in times of need, and work together in the best interest of the community. We hope to bring some of that hometown feeling back to retail,” says Dawn.
An example of the generous spirit that embodies Hometown Bicycles was demonstrated just a few weeks ago. After Dan, longtime customer and friend was tragically killed in a cycling accident, Shaun and Dawn helped organize a memorial ride to support Dan’s family. In just one week of organizing the ‘Do It For Dan Memorial Ride’, over 550 people showed up to raise awareness of cycling and traffic safety and finish Dan’s ride.