Darrin Duhamel said to hell with the corporate world seven years ago.
"I decided to burn all the suits in my closet and open a small business," said Duhamel, owner of Revo Bicycles. Considering his two passions in life were biking and scuba diving, the choice was made simple by the lack of two-wheeled services in Dana Point. "I really wanted to have ties in the community," he added.
Besides offering bicycle service and expertise inside its walls, Revo is going into its third year sponsoring the Dana Point Grand Prix. Last year's race drew 7,000 locals, with 350 children racing in the younsters' division.
"Ninety-nine percent [of those people] probably haven't seen a bike race before," Duhamel, 44, said. He expects at least 15,000 attendees this year.
Two years ago Revo won Dana Point's Business of the Year award, not only because the shop sponsors a big local race, but because it has become a gathering place for the community:
"On weekends this place gets crazy," Duhamel said.
The reason for this craziness might have something to do with cyclists and their affinity for coffee. Tucked into the front, right portion of the store is a coffee and tea bar with seating.
"It's created an environment of a destination location," he said. Next year, Duhamel will add a more relaxed do-it-yourself coffee bar area for the cyclist on the move.
You might be hard pressed to find an owner as uncompromising as Duhamel. When approached not too long ago by a brand to become a concept store, Duhamel most likely already had his black marker ready to clear out inventory of that brand.
"I resisted instantly," Duhamel said. "Good customers want choices. Manufacturers have to realize that we're their customers, not their employees."
In the coming year, Duhamel is adding another top-tier brand in his shop while most likely offering some new boutique brands as well. "I haven't committed to anyone yet," Duhamel said. "But we're talking with everybody."
Duhamel, who employs 10 staffers in-season and five during the off-season, expects 2009 to be a tough year. But he hopes to stay on par with 2008, which saw 38 percent growth over the previous year.
"We're holding our own," Duhamel said.
A couple years ago, Duhamel hoped to open a second store by 2009, but he knows that wouldn't be a prudent move in the current economic climate. "In this economy it's definitely a wait-and-see attitude," Duhamel said.
Another "wait and see" is Duhamel's ability, to get back on a bike. An avid road bike rider, Duhamel has been battling major foot problems since a fall from a cliff 10 years ago.
"Multiple foot surgeries have kept me away from pedaling," he said. But, he hopes, with his doctor's guidance, to be out riding again this year.
Even if he can't get on a bike right now, Duhamel still wakes up each morning living a dream. "I'm around great bikes and I've got a great cup of coffee in my hand," he said.
Source Citation:Norman, Jason. "Revo Bicycles: Dana Point, California.(Orange County Dealer Tour)." Bicycle Retailer and Industry News 18.1 (Jan 1, 2009): DT-2(1). General OneFile. Gale. Alachua County Library District. 11 Sept. 2009
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