When I visited new exhibitor roll: Bicycle Company’s website (note to self: the correct spelling is with a lower case r and a colon) I was intrigued by what appeared to be a remarkable, and may I say, revolutionary approach to the design, manufacturing and marketing of a US-made custom bicycle. roll: Bicycle Company builds bikes one at a time, custom fit to you, in 48hrs. Does this also mean that unicorns are real? I did not know that when I contacted this 30 person operation, that my interview questions would be answered by the company’s founder and CEO Stuart Hunter.
PBE What is your job title/description?
SH I’m the Founder of roll:, first with our Shops and more recently with the roll: Bicycle Company. Which means I get to support a great group of people who share a passion, who are working hard to make a difference with bikes, and who humor my meddling!
PBE What did you do before this?
SH I’m a designer by training, and used to work for a couple of large agencies both here and in the UK before I moved to the states on the back of my design career.
PBE Can you provide a brief timeline/history of the company?
SH We opened our first shop in 2006, and have grown to 3 Shops in Columbus, before launching the roll: Bicycle Company in 2016 as an extension of our own experiences in riding and retailing. I describe us as a start-up 10 years in the making. We’re bike geeks with a passion for customer experience, and the idea that bikes change lives. Not just in grand gestures, but we believe that if we can invite more people, to ride more often, we can have a real, positive impact in the community.
PBE How did you choose the OH location?
SH Ohio chose us. We lived and worked here before roll:, and have been nothing but humbled by the support and encouragement of the city for roll: since day 1. Columbus has a thriving entrepreneurial community, with such strong values, and a rapidly growing sense of self identity. Keep watching!
PBE What’s your favorite part of your business?
SH Seeing the impact that we have on a person when they first get back into riding bikes. Bikes have changed my own life. It’s incredibly rewarding to know that we have helped spark a positive change for someone else in some small way.
PBE Where do you find inspiration?
SH I think as a company, we’re inspired by the idea that we’re making a difference. As a designer, I’m inspired any time I can travel. You see things differently when you break your daily routine, and become more open to new experiences and perspectives. I’m grateful for that every chance I get.
PBE What’s your favorite ride?
SH I’m a mountain biker by passion, the further off the beaten path the better. The riding in South America, and Peru in particular, pulls me back there every couple of years. There is really nothing else quite like riding amongst such rich, ancient history and culture.