Business Section Archives

Portland’s Nutcase Helmets acquired by private equity firm

Posted on October 20th, 2016 at 8:01 am.

Nutcase Helmet Design Contest Party-14
Nutcase founder Michael Morrow in 2011.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

10 years after being founded by a former Nike employee, Portland-based Nutcase Inc. has been acquired by Bravo Sports Corporation.

The move brings Nutcase under an umbrella of 23 other brands owned and/or managed by Bravo Sports that includes well-known names in the skateboarding market like Kryptonics, Sector 9, Pro-Tec, and Vision Street Wear. Bravo also owns children’s scooter brand Pulse Performance Products, holds major licensing agreements with Marvel, Nickelodeon, Disney/Pixar (and others), and holds exclusive rights to license, manufacture, and market E-Z UP tents. Bravo Sports is backed by Transom Capital Group, a private equity firm based in Los Angeles.

Nutcase was founded in 2006 by Michael Morrow. Over the past decade the company has grown steadily and has become a leading helmet brand known for their focus on eye-catching designs. After establishing a strong foothold in the U.S. market, Nutcase made a big push into Europe in 2013 and now has distributors in over 40 countries worldwide. In February of this year the company hired its first-ever CEO and a few months ago Nutcase made the decision to drop their motorsports helmets to focus exclusively on bicycling helmets.


Cargo trike company B-Line takes over delivery for SoupCycle

Posted on October 18th, 2016 at 10:41 am.

Coming soon to your front door.(Photo/graphic: BikePortland)

Coming soon to your front door.
(Photo/graphic: BikePortland)

Bike-powered business, urban freight delivery and local food production have come together in a very exciting way in Portland.

Today two local companies that have built strong niches hauling cargo with pedal power — B-Line and SoupCycle — announced they’ve joined forces. From now on B-Line’s electric-assist cargo trikes will distribute meals for SoupCycle, a company with over 600 customers throughout Portland.

It’s an intriguing collaboration that shows the maturity of Portland’s bike business ecosystem and it comes just days after the University of Washington debuted a new “Urban Freight Lab” in partnership with major retailers and shipping companies with an aim to make downtown deliveries more efficient and friendlier for humans and the environment.

For SoupCycle and B-Line, the move allows both of them to do more of what they do best.


Amid growth surge, Ruckus Composites makes two new hires

Posted on October 13th, 2016 at 1:40 pm.

The newly-expanded team at Portland-based Ruckus Composites.(Photo: Ruckus)

The newly-expanded team at Portland-based Ruckus Composites.
(Photo: Ruckus)

Ruckus Composites has come a long way since we first visited their shop seven years ago.

Back then company founder Shawn Small worked in a rough shop space in the Brooklyn neighborhood that he shared with another company (Portland Design Works, which has grown quite a bit itself since those days). A mechanical engineering grad who’s now 32 years old, he worked alone with just his tools, machines, and big ideas to keep him going. Part bike lover, part mad scientist (he used to write our “Bike Science” column), and part entrepreneur, Small has definitely managed to keep going.

As he approaches a decade in business he announced two new hires today which brings the Ruckus staff up to six full-timers (not including himself).


Western Bikeworks absorbs Athletes Lounge to expand into triathlon market

Posted on October 10th, 2016 at 10:27 am.


Six weeks after closing its doors for good, Portland’s only triathlon shop has found new life in an unexpected place: Another bike shop.

Early Saturday morning Western Bikeworks announced an agreement with Athletes Lounge. Western Bikeworks has locations in northwest Portland and Tigard and is one of the city’s largest bike shops. In addition to their two retail locations Western Bikeworks does a robust online business as one of four e-commerce bike brands owned by Portland-based Velotech Inc (they also run Cyclocross.com, UrbanCyclist.com and BikeTiresDirect.com).

According to a statement, Athletes Lounge owner Gary Wallesen and an undisclosed number of his former staff will now be employed by Western Bikeworks in order to, “expand the areas of expertise” into trisports. Wallesen has also been hired to spearhead a new e-commerce site at AthletesLounge.com in the coming months.


Builders and brewers star at the Handmade Bike & Beer Fest (photos)

Posted on October 8th, 2016 at 12:06 am.

Handmade Bike & Beer Fest-33.jpg
Head over to the North Warehouse on Interstate and Tillamook to gander at beautiful, Oregon-made bikes while sipping locally-made beer.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The Handmade Bike & Beer Fest got off to a solid start tonight in north Portland. This event, hosted by the Oregon Bicycle Constructors Assocation, has teamed up with the Oregon Brewer’s Guild this year to offer a wider variety of craft beers to go along with the craft bikes.


Industry Ticker: New bikes from Islabikes, new bag from North St

Posted on October 6th, 2016 at 11:02 am.

North St. Bags' new Morrison backpack/pannier and the new Cnoc 20 from Islabikes.

North St. Bags’ new Morrison backpack/pannier and the new Cnoc 20 from Islabikes.

Portland is full of seriously top-notch bike companies. Two of our faves are North St. Bags and Islabikes. They’ve both released new products and we’ve got the scoop and photos below…


Portland’s new chamber of commerce wants more business support for Vision Zero

Posted on September 27th, 2016 at 3:16 pm.


The Portland Independent Chamber of Commerce (PICOC) has turned their influential attention to an issue near and dear to our hearts: the struggle for safer streets.

Launched early this year by a relatively young cadre of tech industry leaders as an antidote to the Portland Business Alliance, PICOC wants more Portland businesses to step up and support “the Vision Zero movement.”

Their latest campaign hit inboxes and social media feeds today. It’s timed to influence City Council’s upcoming vote on the Vision Zero Action Plan released by the Portland Bureau of Transportation earlier this month. Council is slated to formally adopt the plan on October 12th.


Art on a helmet: Nutcase goes “Unframed”

Posted on September 23rd, 2016 at 12:56 pm.

Unframed contest winners from 2015 and 2016.

Unframed contest winners from 2015 and 2016.

Cool designs are at the heart of the success of Portland-based helmet company Nutcase. And what better way to exemplify that than to seek out the best helmet artists in the world and put their designs onto new products?


Hillsboro-based apparel retailer TeamEstrogen.com closes doors after 18 years

Posted on September 20th, 2016 at 10:51 am.


Team Estrogen Inc., an online cycling apparel retailer based in Hillsboro, is closing its doors after 18 years in business.

TeamEstrogen.com co-founder Susan Otcenas told Bicycle Retailer & Industry News last week that price competition and the changing behaviors of customers led to the decision to call it quits. Here’s more from BR&IN:

“We were never about price and discounts, and the world has changed. There’s a fundamental tension between the kind of hands-on customer service and high-quality staff we’ve always had and the customer demand for lower prices and free shipping,” Otcenas said. “The consumer has spoken that they value those things, and I totally understand it, but as a small company, it’s hard to compete in that space if that’s the main focus. It’s a race to the bottom, and we’re choosing not to go down that road.”


Bike-powered GO Box has kept 100,000 food containers out of the trash

Posted on September 12th, 2016 at 2:29 pm.

GO Box Founder Laura Weiss at work. (Photo: GO Box Facebook)

GO Box Founder Laura Weiss at work.
(Photo: GO Box Facebook)

The dark side of Portland’s legendary food cart ecosystem are the thousands of plastic, paper, and styrofoam food containers that are tossed into the trash every day. Laura Weiss, founder of GO Box, is doing her part to make that ecosystem a bit healthier.

This week her business will mark a major milestone: The elimination of 100,000 disposable food containers.

Weiss has been pedaling her bike with a trailer full of re-usable containers since 2011 and will also celebrate her fifth year in business this Wednesday.