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Your Money, Your Business: Bill's Bikes

March 25, 2010 at midnight
Updated March 26, 2010 at 10:27 p.m.

Fran and Bill Yeary stand inside Bill's Bikes, the Victoria shop they've owned since 1980. The shop offers new equipment,  parts for bicycles and skateboards, as well as repairs.

Editor's note: Your Money, Your Business showcases small businesses. If you have a small business or know of an interesting one, please let us know. See the end of this feature for submission information.

Business name:

Bill's Bikes

Address and phone number:

505 E. North St. in Victoria, 361-575-6036

Business owners:

Fran and Bill Yeary

Date opened:

Sept. 1, 1980

Number of employees:

There are four of us in total.

Services offered:

Bicycles, parts, other equipment and skateboards. We also do repairs.

1: Why did you choose the industry?

It was a hobby that got out of hand. Bill started riding and repairing his own bike. From there, he repaired friends' bikes and, after word spread, began fixing other peoples'. He finally decided to open his own place.

2: Describe your first day in business.

There was a lot of "getting ready time," getting the parts and bikes in. On the first day, our first customer bought a bike and we were in business. We think that bike is still around somewhere.

3: Describe a typical workday.

There is no such thing. We work with customers, do repairs and order parts. Our inventory has to be a little bigger than in larger cities since we're the major bike shop for a few towns in our area.

4: Why open up shop in the Crossroads?

We were living here and, at that time, Victoria didn't have a full bike shop.

5: Is it difficult to find employees in our workforce? How do you find workers?

Usually it isn't difficult. Most of our employees come from people we know.

6: What advice would you give others about starting a new business?

Be serious about it and get a good business education. We were doing it for fun and should have done some things differently, such as buying the building instead of renting. Also, love what you're doing because you're going to be living with it. It takes dedication and staying with it when times are tough, but you can enjoy it when things are good.

7: What is the biggest challenge your industry faces?

There are a few. The Internet, mail order, the economy and the value of the dollar are among them. We didn't realize at first just how much international monetary policies affect small businesses. For instance, when the Yen was down, we could get great products for low prices, but that changes when the dollar drops.

8: What is something most people don't realize about running a small business?

It's probably a lot more around-the-clock work than most people realize. Also, once you open a small business and people know it, you have to be on your best behavior, no matter what.

9: In your time running your business, what is your best story?

We see a lot of the next generation, which is fun. We'll work on bikes for kids and then, down the road, are helping them pick out bikes for their children. We also get to meet people from all over, such as those traveling across the country on bike. Once, during a bike show in Las Vegas, we were on a tour bus, talking with a couple from London. We told them we knew someone from London - we'd met him when he was biking through the area - and found out he worked at the couple's store.

10: Where do you see yourself and your business in five years?

We have no idea. There's no business plan in place, but we're doing good just in planning from day to day. One of these days we'll have to retire, but there are no plans to do that yet.

- Allison Miles, Victoria Advocate

To be considered for the Your Money, Your Business feature, call 361-580-6511 or e-mail Business Reporter Allison Miles at amiles@vicad.com. The form is also available electronically.

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