Dear Hometown,

Happy 11th birthday! We would love to share a few things with you. You are doing such a great job. We are so proud of you.

When we first started you, we were so nervous, but we understood that if we did this, we would be in it for the long haul. In the last few years, we have seen you grow up a lot, getting wiser and stronger as the years go by.

We had some goals for you that I’d like to share. We wanted you to be “A good company for your crew, a good company for your customers, a good company for your community, and a good company for your industry.” You have embraced those goals and we can see the difference you are making EVERYDAY.

For your crew we have seen you change lives. We wanted you to add value to any crew member and we wanted you to leave them with a lasting impression. We understood that most of your workforce would be young and you embraced them, challenged them, and you gave them the tools to lead a successful life. We also understand that a lot of your crew would be retired, people that worked a lifetime to support and grow a family. You understood that these retirees have a passion for helping people and you gave them an opportunity to share that passion every day. You should know that a lot of your past young crew members are doing great. They are running their own businesses, buying homes, getting married and building families of their own. You have given other crew members a chance to travel, explore and see the world and at one point or another, they have all come back just to see you and see how much you have grown. They are proud of you too.

For your customers, you give them something big. When you were born, we gave you the tag line “Go to your happy place” because we understand that you will be a part of the journey and not the destination, you would be a reason people change their lives. You have inspired people to start moving, to fix an old memory, to make new friends and find old ones. We have always wanted you to to have a greater “value than your price” and we see that value in the loyalty you have for your customers. What is astonishing is how many customers just stop by to say “hi”, to drop off pizza, to see if “We need help with anything” we even came by one day to find one of your customers cleaning the parking lot. When I asked “why they were doing it” they answered “I love this place”.  To us, “go to your happy place” has always been on your bike, but it is amazing to see how you were able to make it your own.

For your community, we didn’t want you to just exist, we wanted you to make it stronger. We named you “Hometown Bicycles” because we wanted you to fit in wherever you ended up and hoped that you understand that you will belong to every community. We knew that wherever you ended up, you were going to make a difference. You didn’t settle in the “Nicest side of town” you didn’t end up in the “best building” you didn’t even have a parking lot, but you didn’t let that define you. You looked beyond your surroundings and embraced your community. For your cycling community, you educated them with your clinics, rides and classes. For your cities and townships, you participated in forums to make cycling safer and more accessible. For your fellow businesses, you have partnered with them to share your experiences, build a network, and grow stronger together. You have achieved so many milestones, you have worked on over 25000 bicycles, you have helped your community raise millions of dollars and you have helped people cope with the loss of loved ones. You are doing a great job adding value to your community, and we see the community returning the love everyday. 

For your industry, we wanted you to live outside the box. We wanted you to look beyond convention and every so often rock the boat. Well what could we say, you turned out to be a little bit of a renegade. You started off by opening on tax day all because your mechanic at the time says, “All business are, are tax collectors for the government.” That made it official. Then you decided to be open 7 am to 7 pm EVERYDAY, and although it was not sustainable you definitely rocked the boat a little.  You were the only shop in Michigan that was committed to SERVICE ONLY, and that started making waves so much so that the industry was reaching out to you to see how “Service can save the bike industry”. Eventually the demand for new bikes was overwhelming, so you found a bike brand that had the same loyalty to customer experience that you did and your relationship has been Magical. You were one of the only shops that gave customers a chance to try the bike before you buy it, and not just in the parking lot but in the woods and in their subdivisions, even on a bike ride up north where the bikes were destroyed by turkey vultures. Currently with the demand for service being so high you are the only shop running a night crew for service. We are proud of you Hometown for pedaling at your own pace.

So now that you are 11, you are about to face a whole new set of challenges, you are starting to go through those awkward teenage years where you would be questioned a lot, every so often make an emotional decision, try desperately to cover up your flaws, remember, it is part of growing up. Know that your crew loves you, your customers depend on you, your community believes in you, your industry respects you and your family is proud of you.

Happy birthday our 11 year old bike shop.

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