On a drive through the countryside in 2002, John and Vanessa McCracken talked about one day owning a bike shop. Coincidentally, they saw a bike shop for sale the next day and decided to take the risk.
But they didn't want to just own a bike shop, they wanted to build a community.
What's the nature of your business?
We offer bicycles, accessories, but really it's the whole experience of coming to the store. We lead rides from our store and empower people to be a confident and good cyclist.
We try to take the intimidation out of cycling. The basis of the store came down to Vanessa as a beginner cyclist going to a bike shop for the first time and having an unpleasant experience. She put the gloves on upside down and the salesperson laughed at her.
What's the history of your business?
John grew up in his cousin's bike shop and then in high school he and his mom ran Sanger Bicycles. It was always something he wanted to do again.
Early in our marriage we were just out for a drive and talking about it and then the next day there was a shop for sale. Three weeks after, we had the key to our first store in Madera. Three years ago we decided to move to this area. We are from this area and we wanted to move closer to home.
What are your biggest rewards?
We're really lucky in what we do because we get to see on a daily basis the positive effects that bikes have made for people. And our customers are fantastic about sharing their victories with us.
One of the most rewarding things is getting a person who was so intimidated, so scared and so full of self-doubt to ride. Just seeing that look of satisfaction and achievement on their face and the pride that they feel because they just rode 16 miles is phenomenal.
What are your biggest challenges?
John: We really focus on taking care of our employees. The challenge is being able to provide a good quality of life for them and still have a sustainable and profitable business. We pay full benefits for our full-time staff and pay for their GB3 membership, just to promote a lifestyle.
What is your philosophy on customer service?
Vanessa: Our No. 1 commitment is to make everyone feel welcomed and comfortable when they come in. We always say it's not selling you the bike, it's creating a relationship. Our customers really become our extended family.
What is one of your fondest memories from your time with your business?
In the last California Classic, the big bike event that goes through Fresno, we had a massive amount of customers out there so we decided to go and cheer them on. We had a 12-foot-long banner that said "Go Sunnysiders" and followed them the whole route.
What makes you stand out from the competition?
People see our passion for bikes and our passion for community and I think they sense that it's authentic. It's a true belief that bikes can positively impact lives and build communities.
Owners: John and Vanessa McCracken
Location: 6105 E. Kings Canyon Road, Fresno
Phone: (559) 255-7433
Annual sales: $985,000
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