Small Business Owner is Ready to Ride
As the weather warms up, the amount of people cycling to get around the city is more noticeable. Bike paths and bridges have a constant stream of people biking to get to work, to work out and just to have fun.
For Andrea Smith, an avid cyclist herself, she noticed that that it was difficult to find accessories and riding gear specifically made for women.
“We see more and more women out there riding and that community of women riders needs a shop to call home, where their needs come first,” explains Andrea.
After years of searching for quality women’s cycling products and being met with unisex gear painted pink, Andrea and her business partner Lucas Gallagher decided to open up a shop of their own.
“We wanted it to be a place where every cyclist feels welcome, from absolute beginners who have no idea where to start right up to people who have been riding every day for decades,” explains Lucas.
Having heard about it from a friend, Andrea turned to EMBERS Ventures to help with the logistics of starting up a small business.
“I heard about EMBERS Ventures from friends who had gone there and had really wonderful experiences. They said that EMBERS was a really positive place to start a project – they were right!”
“Launching a business involves taking a lot of risks and so there is a lot of anxiety and fear of the unknown. It was very helpful the way EMBERS broke the process down into manageable, do-able pieces with timelines attached,” says Andrea.
Going through the Build A Business program, Andrea learned the basics of starting a business, but she says it was the amazing support she received from EMBERS Ventures that made all the difference.
“I think the greatest thing I got from EMBERS were lessons in resilience and optimism from the instructors and the other students,” says Andrea.
“There is an appreciation for unique ideas and the idiosyncrasies that make small businesses interesting. The business skills we learn are in service of higher values like building stronger communities and helping people to build better lives for themselves.”
With the grand opening of Sidesaddle on June 13, Andrea and Lucas are knee-deep in entrepreneurship and have been getting great feedback so far from their community.
“Once we put out the word about what we were we started having all kinds of wonderful people reach out to us who were excited about what we were doing. The community has been very welcoming and it’s been awesome to meet so many new people,” says Andrea.
Andrea and Lucas are hopeful that their vision for a women-friendly bicycle shop becomes a place where everyone feels welcome and respected.
“We hope people will even be happy when they get a flat tire, because our service is so friendly and our store is so much fun to visit!”