David Sperstad had dreamed of working in a bicycle shop since he was 13 years old, but it took being let go from a job as an adult to help him get there. The day after he lost his job, he started working as a bike mechanic in a nearby town. As Sperstad settled into his role, he started asking the owner about running the bike shop.
As he learned more about the basics of small-business ownership and the ins-and-outs of running a bike shop, Sperstad and his wife, Susan, thought they might like to start their own shop. First, they attended a workshop at their local Small Business Development Center. “It was in this class that SCORE was first mentioned,” he recalls. “It was suggested to get a mentor who has worked close to the business you desire [to have].” Luckily for David and Susan, the nearest SCORE office was down the hall from the SBDC.
After much consideration — they even considered buying the shop where David worked — they decided to open their own shop. Touright Bicycle Shop was born in Little Falls, Minnesota in 2015.
Touright sells bicycles, offers repairs, hosts group rides, and offers how-to clinics for cyclists of all levels. David and Susan like to refer to it as “the Cheers of bike shops,” for the friendly atmosphere it fosters in this small town.
“Our mentors have been instrumental in helping our business become more profitable.” David reports. “Over the past year our revenue has increased. Thanks to our mentors we have a better cash flow which has allowed us to stay in business.”
Touright Bicycle Shop was selected as one of 102 state winners in the 2017 American Small Business Championship.
“We knew experience is the best teacher, so we couldn’t go wrong in reaching out to a SCORE mentor who had successfully run a small business,” David recalls.
The couple has worked with volunteer mentor Dick Jordan, who has provided guidance regarding accounting, bookkeeping, advertising, social media use, and financial reports.
The Sperstads have also participated in webinars concerning funding, marketing, social media, customer relationships, and accounting. “Each has provided us with improved hands-on information that, once implemented, help our business become more profitable,” David says.
“Our mentor has always been there when we reach out to him with a question,” he says. “He has the answer, an idea we are after or gets us in connection with someone who can consult with us and steer us in the right direction.”