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Photos by Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Randy Braun, owner of Chain Reaction Bike Center in Decatur, poses with his prize possession, an original 1887 Springfield Roadster.
Business Spotlight

Decatur bike shop has vintage niche

Restores old rides, sells and services new ones

Braun works in the repair shop of his business, Chain Reaction Bike Center in Decatur.

Chain Reaction Bike Center

Address: 190 W. Adams County Road 300 N. in Decatur

At a glance: Sales and service of bicycles, specializing in the restoration of antique and vintage bikes

Employees: Two

Annual revenue: Declined to disclose

When was the company founded: 2009

Biggest accomplishment in the past 12 months: The construction of a 1,200-square-foot building off U.S. 27 on West 300 North. The development cost more than $30,000 and will allow owner and President Randy Braun to separate his showroom and workshop areas.

What was your biggest mistake in operating this business: Not having a bigger selection of new bikes on hand. Customers would often walk into the establishment and leave because they couldn’t find what they wanted. “There are a lot of impulse buyers out there and if they don’t see it right away they may go someplace else,” Braun said. “Everything is instant gratification these days.”

What are the key challenges facing your business or industry: Competition from the big-box sales. Braun says although his merchandise is a little bit more expensive, product reliability and service after the sale more than make up the cost difference.

What is your strategy for staying ahead of your competition: The company pledges to stand by what it sells. Braun said unlike some competitors, he offers repair and adjustments. He and his wife, Kelli, emphasize having a full-service bike shop. The business specializes in vintage bicycle repair. The oldest bike restored was a 1948 Schwinn.

What resources have you found most helpful in running a business: Having worked with the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center for six months. Braun also said his wife’s accounting and bookkeeping skills and encouragement keep him going.

What are your growth projections for the next five years: Would like to increase sales 25 percent to 30 percent a year. It seems Braun has reason for optimism. The National Bicycle Dealers Association says the industry has remained relatively stable since 2003. With the exception of 2009, sales have been between $5.8 billion and $6.1 billion each year.

What is one thing about your business that people might not be aware of: “Our ability to get old antique parts and how detailed we are,” Braun said.

If you weren’t running this business, what would you be doing: Would like to be a professional cyclist.

Source: Randy Braun, owner and president Compiled by Paul Wyche of The Journal Gazette Business Spotlight profiles small businesses that are at least three years old and have 100 or fewer employees. To recommend a business, e-mail the name of the company and the name and phone number of a contact person to lisa green@jg.net or fax to 461-8893.

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