RIDGFIELD, Conn. – Sean and Jacqueline Dowd faced a difficult decision last year with the Ridgefield Bicycle Company. Business was growing, but their space was too small.
In the end, the business moved to 88 Danbury Road in January and has continued to thrive. But the decision to move and grow did not come easily.
“We either had to shrink the business and make it smaller, or find a different location and let the growth continue,’’ Sean said. “It was just kind of good timing. We happened to drive by the location and it said call if interested. I happened to know the property manager, and it was an easy negotiation. The work on the interior wasn’t finished, so we were able to do all the things we wanted, like flooring and paint colors.”
Three years ago, the Dowds took over the business, which has been in Ridgefield for nearly 18 years. The previous owners ran it as a custom shop. The Dowds switched the focus to a more family-oriented shop, selling and servicing bikes for kids, roads, trails and triathlons.
“We live in town, we have three kids and we’re both avid riders,’’ Sean said. “We wanted the store to reflect who we were, that we’re a typical family. We set up the whole store that had the things we wanted, and it would reflect what the community wanted.”
One key component to the growth was the development of the Sport Club. Jacqueline is the president, and the club organizes multi-sport workouts. The activities include mountain biking, road riding, trail running, track workouts and swimming. One of the events is a weekly “Thristy Thursday” ride that draws 50 to 80 riders.
“Doing events like that has been the biggest catalyst for our growth,’’ Sean said. “And the location has allowed us to execute on everything we wanted. We hired two more mechanics, and we have room for them to work. We’ve been able to execute the growth.”
Jacqueline had worked in a bike shop previously while Sean worked in the banking industry. “The opportunity just presented itself,’’ Sean said. “Our kids had become a little older, and we had a little bit more time. It’s been a lot more than we expected. On the good side, we have great customers and we’ve developed some great relationships. The bad side is working weekends. We see people come in and they’re going out riding and we’re working. That’s the hardest part.”
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