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  1. #1
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    Wheeeere to start the bike company... Breckenridge?

    Howdy everybody. Gearing up for a small frame & component company launch in the near future. Considering locations (cause moving later is costly), & thought I'd shoot for some insider knowledge.

    I've been invited to come see Breckenridge, (but it's by an ex, so her motives are questionable) and looking at it, the accessibility looks good, and I remember the town being very vibrant. Though I've lived up & down the Front Range in the 90s, I'm unfamiliar with the riding around Breck. Most important to me is, are there trails near town? ...starting in town, even? If we can get a bike on a trail in minutes, and back in the shop without having to spend hours driving to trails, that's huge. I see on the googly maps there's a path or two, but... how'd you rank the nearby riding?

    I'd be providing a few cycling jobs to the area, but we'd be doing some composite & light machining. If anyone has any ideas on how hostile (cough Boulder cough) the city is to light manufacturing, that kind of information could be helpful too.

    Thanks for any help,
    [name witheld to avoid being mistaken for spam]
    Last edited by spin-drifter; 05-09-2010 at 05:03 PM.

  2. #2
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    Spot brand, Yeti, several bike shops... all in Golden. Coincidence? I think not. Besides, it has to be cheaper then Breckenridge, and the trails dry out quicker.

  3. #3
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    Breck has a lot of great trails ridable from town. But good riding can only be guaranteed (more or less) for 4 months a year.

  4. #4
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    Breck is a ski town first. I think you will find everything cheaper in the front range somewhere like Ft Collins, Golden, or Lyons or something although I'm sure Boulder county isn't that cheap to do business.

    I don't know what type of jobs you will be needing done or what the wages will be but a lot of the people in Breck that would be willing to work for say under $15 an hour will be seasonal workers and probably living there just to ski.

  5. #5
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    Agreed, Breck is NOT the place to open a bike company. You get the most traffic in the Denver/Boulder area, and Breck is too far out of the way. Golden, Wheatridge, even Littleton would be much better -- Golden would be the best since it's closest to all the trails.

    And when you open up, make sure you give out free stickers. I'm in dire need of new stickers.

  6. #6
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    Breck would be pretty good. . .except as mentioned the riding season is limited. There are however TONS in the area. Light manufacturing may be in the area off airport road. Silverthorne could be the most friendly in that respect. There are some of the best rides in the region (world class) between Breck, Keystone and Silverthorne with each area having riding either from town or 5-10 min drive depending on where your shop is.

    Yes- golden you have riding close, but not as close as Breck (and 10% of the total amount of trails). Also, the mountains have plenty of year round locals who ride in the summer—awesome scene up there and a local race series. Many of these people are middle aged people who work a few jobs through the year (industries and skilled from all walks of life)—not just the crap bro bra employee of 20 yrs old who bails after the snow melts. People go to live up there for the winters . . . they turn to locals when they stay for the summers.

    I would also look at Grand Junction—MRP and DTswiss are out there, good year round scene and usually riding. Also, I can’t see golden being that much cheaper per sq ft than breck or Silverthorne. Oh- also Gunnison—longer season, next to CB, good scene, Dave Weins lives there—should say something

  7. #7
    I'm how far behind?
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    Second Silverthorne vs Breck

    Breck will be way pricey. Silverthorne has some mixed use properties that would allow you to live above your shop, if you are into that kind of thing. Riding is definately a 3-4 for month window unless you are into the fatbike scene or willing to ride some gravelly shoulders.

    Golden would be better for year round riding, but it also comes with crowded trails and potential access issues. Grand Junction would be the best middle ground, IMO. Year around riding, close to Moab and Fruita. GJ is cheaper than both Summit and the Frange. Be weary of exs, they are good for a weekend or two but not worth the move.
    Fatter than most.

  8. #8
    killin clear creek
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    If I were specifically looking for a location in the mountains, I'd likely look at Steamboat before Summit county, but there are already at least two companies up there. Is that a good thing or not, I don't know. I can't see Breck being an ideal place for most of the reasons mentioned above.
    I'd have to say the front range is just so much better of a market.

    I work in breck & can't imagine trying to spend my money to start a business here. Just from a labor perspective, I pay approx. 35-40% more for work that is being done up here than I do for work being done on the front range. This alone seems to me that it would make trying to sell a product that competes with others made in a lower priced economy (esp. when you're so close) very difficult.


    Good luck man, if you've got the huevos to make it work... it likely wouldn't matter where you do it!
    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    How about we take the "let it burn approach" with the rotting cesspool of the Denver metro?

  9. #9
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    Thank you guys so much for the quality input.

    Will head out there in June & definitely check out Silverthorne, Granite, Rollinsville (thx for the PMs) & surrounding area. Great food for thought, regarding Brecks ski-centric culture & cost/labor issues. I'll have to do some more research firsthand this summer.

    Funny where the priorities fall. Long winters afford more shop time, other bike companies in town can be fun, but keeping your latest & greatest under wraps is tricky, major road access is necessary for product shipping & materials delivery, small towns provide creative inspiration while big cities taketh away... but all of it takes a back seat to the quality of the trails nearby. Hey, it's a bike co.

  10. #10
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    Think about Palisade, Colorado. It's western Slope, has trails rideable from town (see MikeSee's "Hungry?" post in Passion and is next to I-70, Grand Junction, and Fruita.

  11. #11
    zrm
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    I'd check out Breckenridge regardless. The town and county have been very interested in getting some kind of "light industry" happening in Breckenridge. I don't know if that translates into any tangible benefits or not, but I'd look into it anyway. Plus, while the season is short, you've got one hell of a MTB culture here too.four major races, the local race series, Breck Bike week, world class trail system, etc.
    Nor is it any more expensive than any other Mtn town and not as much more expensive than the FR as you might think. (it's the residential and retail property on Main St that's pricy) Plus, I think you'll pay about the same for skilled labor here as you will anywhere else.

  12. #12
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    Met this guy this winter who makes dirt bike parts in philly, he would love to move his business to colorado but it makes no sense from a business stand point. Investors all live in the philly area, part suppliers are less expensive, labor is less expensive, distribution is less expensive, on an on.

    The county and towns up here continue to debate tax incentives to attract people like you. But all they do is debate instead of act on it. We are desperate for industries that do not relate to real estate and tourism.

    There are a few small companies up here that make snowboards, binding, and clothing. You should track them down and talk to them about doing business in summit county.

    The cost of commercial space in breck will blow your mind, silverthorne may be a bit lower but it will still hurt.

    Almost any supplier in dever will deliver up here but the fees they tack on will hurt you.

    As mentioned before labor will kill you too, just 2-4 dollars an hour per person will hurt. The quality of people you come across looking to "help" you will be a wake up call. Summit county has a very very poor labor pool.

    Go for it if you think it is what you want, but you should really consider the front range. Like I started with you'll be closer to your suppliers, your market, rent will be cheep, the labor pool will be better, networking with investors, it's all down there, we are real close by up here but very far away in mind set and costs.

  13. #13
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    I don't know a damn thing about this, but most small businesses I can think of that start in mountain towns end up relocating to the FR. (Yeti, redfeather snowshoes, Breckenridge Brewery).... Just makes more business sense.

    There are a few notable exceptions (i.e., Smartwool, bomber), but they are few.

  14. #14
    D'oh!
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    Are you looking for profitability?

    Where you locate your business depends on what your goals are. Are you looking to maximize profit? Do you just want to make enough money to put gas in your car?
    Breck is a nice place to live, but the cost of living and operating a small bike-related business, where competition is fierce and profit margins are notoriously poor, won't leave you with much. If you want to keep your costs low and grow the business quickly you would do better on the front range, FWIW
    Good luck with the biz!

  15. #15
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    Another vote for front range.

    I'm assuming you want to ride your bikes on trails a lot. Front range has near year round riding opertunities, so even if you're in the mountains, you'll be driving down here to push the peddels for half the year. Do you realy want to contend with 400+ inches of snow at the ski areas, plus trafic?

    Front range also has a slue of machine shops that have good reputations for on time delivery, and are quality certified. There's also a large number of aerospace companies for you to steal compoite engineers away from. I would think that reliable manufacturing partners, and highly skilled labor would be a benifit to your company.

    Good luck bro!

  16. #16
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Personally I'd recommend SLC.

  17. #17
    bacon! bacon! bacon!
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    Quote Originally Posted by CDS123
    Do you realy want to contend with 400+ inches of snow at the ski areas
    Yeah. Summit County ski areas WISH.

  18. #18
    MK_
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    I would recommend a little further west, past Vail pass, near Eagle or Glenwood or even as far as Grand Junction. Riding season there is much longer and the terrain variety is much broader.

    _MK
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  19. #19
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    I'd add another vote for Front Range (Lyons or Golden). Labor pool, reasonable riding options year round to test frames, and an accessible airport are all key.

  20. #20
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    You move to Lyons and I'll send you my resume. Aurora is eating away at my soul.

  21. #21
    killin clear creek
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    Quote Originally Posted by zrm
    Nor is it any more expensive than any other Mtn town and not as much more expensive than the FR as you might think. (it's the residential and retail property on Main St that's pricy) Plus, I think you'll pay about the same for skilled labor here as you will anywhere else.

    As one that spends my day every day dealing with the labor market & comparing this town to other areas all around the state, I disagree 100%.

    Skilled (read, NON-skibum who wants a real job, is thinking long term & can actually perform) labor is MUCH harder to come by here, and is MUCH more expensive. If we were to compare legal labor market from breck to say Ned, Rollinsville, Conifer, Golden... you're way high here. Right now, my labor market is off by nearly 50% from local work to a job in S. Denver, I doubt it will stay that extreme, but It tends to rest in the high 30's in my industry.

    As for comm real estate, also way off with an absolute minimum of 25%. I'm not saying it's 100% not worth dealing with those factors, I'm just stating that if you're in business & you plan on actually making MONEY in that business... it'll be more of a challenge here, no matter how you look at it.
    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    How about we take the "let it burn approach" with the rotting cesspool of the Denver metro?

  22. #22
    MK_
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    Quote Originally Posted by backcountryislife
    As for comm real estate, also way off with an absolute minimum of 25%. I'm not saying it's 100% not worth dealing with those factors, I'm just stating that if you're in business & you plan on actually making MONEY in that business... it'll be more of a challenge here, no matter how you look at it.
    May as well cut your losses right away and move straight to China or South America and open up shop there.

    _MK
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  23. #23
    killin clear creek
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    Quote Originally Posted by MK_
    May as well cut your losses right away and move straight to China or South America and open up shop there.

    _MK
    yeah, every time I think about how much difference there is here... I can't help but think about how disgusting cheap labor is over there (and somehow American companies find ways to compete...) $28/hr here, $16/hr denver, $.75/hr china...
    Quote Originally Posted by thump View Post
    How about we take the "let it burn approach" with the rotting cesspool of the Denver metro?

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scrambler
    I don't know a damn thing about this, but most small businesses I can think of that start in mountain towns end up relocating to the FR. (Yeti, redfeather snowshoes, Breckenridge Brewery).... Just makes more business sense.

    There are a few notable exceptions (i.e., Smartwool, bomber), but they are few.
    Holy Crap, someone on here knows of Bomber Industries. Is it from their Bishop Tele binding?

    Ink

  25. #25
    Your bike is incorrigible
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    Salida might be fun. Even though they have three bike shops and a frame builder (maybe more?), they seem to do just fine. There's a hardcore bike community there, that's for sure! Then you're not that far from the front range or the western slope.

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