Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 23rd, 2010 at 2:46 pm
Portland is an ideal place to start a bike-related business. Not only do we have a vast array of people who enjoy riding all types of bicycles, but we’ve also got an increasingly supportive business and development community.
In the past few days I’ve come across three interesting opportunities that every aspiring bicycle entrepreneur should be aware of.
First up is a new program from the Portland Development Commission. As reported by Civic Source last week, the PDC has several new programs to support entrepreneurs and start-ups “in order to foster economic growth from inside rather than focusing solely on recruiting companies from outside”. One of those new programs, the Portland Start-Up Fund, will provide seed money from the city for new companies who need a stepping stone to larger private investment.
Once you get your company off the ground, or if it’s already up and running, an excellent location is critical. I’ve gotten word from two people recently about perfect places to start a bike business.
Real estate developer Jon Kellogg is responsible for several projects along the bustling bikeway of North Williams Avenue including the new space that’s home to United Bicycle Institute and bike pannier and handbag maker Queen Bee Creations.
The final piece of this bike hub is the corner space that sits on the intersection of Williams and Shaver. Kellogg purchased an existing building and is moving it from downtown Portland to this new location. He’s still trying to find “the right bike-centric tenant” for the space in order to complete his vision of a 100% bike-oriented development. If you’re interested, drop Jon a line at email@example.com.
The other location that’s ripe for a bike business is in South Waterfront near the base of the Aerial Tram. John Landolfe, the “Bicyclist Liaison” (yes that’s his official title) for Oregon Health Sciences University (OHSU), recently got in touch to share what he thinks is a perfect opportunity.
“The first startup to plant their flag would have zero direct competition and access to the largest workforce in Portland. Why has no one jumped on this yet?”
— John Landolfe, OHSU
As he scouted new locations for bike racks near tram, Landolfe looked out at hundreds of bikes and thought, “I can’t think of a better place to open a bike business.”
Landolfe says he counts an average of 500 people on bicycles a day during the high season at the base of the tram. He says the vast majority of them are OHSU staffers who have the money but not the time to take care of their bikes.
“The first startup to plant their flag would have zero direct competition and access to the largest workforce in Portland [with 12,400 employees OHSU is largest employer in Portland and fourth largest in state]. Why has no one jumped on this yet?”
Landolfe says he can imagine a doctor or EMT or office assistant dropping off his or her bike at the waterfront, riding the tram up the hill, and returning to a tuned up ride on the way home. “It’d be a great arrangement for the cyclist, the shop owner, and the local economy.”
Given the anemic condo market, there are likely plenty of open retail spaces close to the tram and OHSU’s adjacent Center for Health & Healing. Better yet, perhaps a bike cart (like a food cart, but for bike accessories and service perhaps?) could just set up shop right near all the action?
From new bike shops that seem to open up monthly, to product designers and manufacturers, Portland has a thriving cluster of bike businesses and it looks like there’s still room for plenty more.