After 29 years in the bicycle industry, Norm White opened his own bike store one year ago, on Granada Boulevard.
BY MIKE CAVALIERE | ASSOCIATE EDITOR
Norm White grew up racing BMX bikes, before moving on to mountain bikes, then road bikes, then taking a job as a teenager in a bike shop. Twenty-nine years later, he’s spent most of his work life in the biking industry.
But he's always had bigger aspirations.
Even after becoming the Trek company’s sales manager for its North Florida territory, and holding the job 11 years, he still wanted to one day be his own boss.
“(Owning my own bike shop) is something that’s always been on the Top Five of my bucket list,” he said, “so I decided to take the leap.”
A South Daytona resident, White wanted to open his store in Ormond Beach, and six months later, Daytona Bicycle Center, at 362 W. Granada Blvd., was a reality.
“There was a gap in this market for a Trek retailer,” he said. “(But) there are so many things to take into consideration when you’re opening up a small business.”
Looking for a spot in which to settle, he had to consider location, nearby traffic counts, cost, property management and other factors. He didn’t worry so much about starting something new in a bad economy, though — “The bike industry has always stayed strong,” he says.
He didn’t worry about local competition, either.
There are three other bike shops within a five-mile radius of his store. But, in a a lot of ways, White sees that as a good thing. It keeps him focused.
“You see gas stations across the street from each other … drug stores,” he shrugged. “Competition can be good.”
And the numbers prove that. White exceeded his first year's sales goals, goals he calls “realistic” and “not overly conservative.”
He also feels he could already use more than the 2,700-square-feet currently in his shop.
“The most difficult part of the first year of business is the marketing,” he said. But that’s also been his biggest success.
The decision to name his shop Daytona Bicycle Center was a strategic one. The word Daytona, instead of Ormond, increases his online searchability — and broad area web searches are how White attracts a majority of his customers. The name also furthers his goal of becoming the top bike shop of the regional market (Palm Coast to New Smyrna), not just the city.
“I’ve been very fortunate to work in an industry I have a passion for,” he said. “I’ve just had a niche for it, and I couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.”
Daytona Bicycle Center is run by White, his wife, Carla, and one other full-time worker. The shop offers sales, repairs and rental.
Meet a Supercross star
Daytona Bicycle Center will host five-time Supercross Champion Ricky Carmichael 5-6 p.m. Friday, March 8, to meet fans and sign autographs.
The shop will also be giving away two tickets to the 2013 Supercross event in Daytona Beach. Register at the shop, 362 W. Granada Blvd., to win.