Opening a new business is a challenge at any time, but Beanie’s Bike Shop in Los Alamos was faced with particular difficulties when it started in 2019. But now, with hard work and the help of the nonprofit economic development organization the Regional Development Corporation, the shop is doing well and expanding its services.
“The pandemic started right after we opened,” says co-owner Rhiannon Laakso-McIntyre. “But the great thing about it was that it was an opportunity to learn how to do the business better. So we grew during the pandemic”.
After a decade in the bike business co-owner Ryan McIntyre had realized the path forward was to open a bike shop with Laakso-McIntyre, his wife and business partner.
“When we decide what kind of services we should offer or what kind of products to sell, it’s coming from conversations with customers,” says Laakso-McIntyre. “We listen to what they want and provide what they want. Get to know your market, get to know the people as people, and not just as consumers.”
As the shop started to thrive, one service that seemed to fit the market was custom-built steel bike frames, a move which would require investment in additional equipment.
The right support at the right time
Enter the RDC. Beanie’s Bike Shop applied for and was awarded one of the RDC’s 2022 Micro-Grant Fund to purchase a specialized tube bender, which can symmetrically bend two tubes side-by-side - crucial to bicycle frame building.
The Micro-Grant Fund (which is supported by Laboratory operator Triad National Security, LLC), provides a small infusion of capital up to $3,000 to help businesses diversify, sustain or grow revenue, leverage other investments, or put systems in place that lead to growth and create job opportunities.
The RDC also provides technical support and information on other funding opportunities to everyone who applies for the grants, with the aims of sustaining and assisting developing businesses in Northern New Mexico with job creation, and diversifying the region’s economy.
The future looks bright for Beanie’s Bike Shop which is now exploring other services in addition to custom-built steel bike frames such as deep-dive suspension service and e-bikes.
The customers might be visiting to call on the owners’ expertise, but some of them are no doubt also coming in to see the business partner whose name is above the door: Beanie – Ryan and Rhiannon’s dog!