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A Business That's Putting Pedals Under Peddlers

By Adrienne Burke | Small Business

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Avery Pack is an artist whose interest in the bicycle as a “mass customizable affordable design object for retail sales” led him into business six years ago. Today, through mostly word-of-mouth advertising, the bike manufacturing company he started “with no funding, from modest beginnings,” builds affordable custom bikes and bike fleets for clients including resorts, hotels, universities, residential properties, event hosts, and corporate campuses. Nike, GoDaddy, and Google are all customers, and so was WhoMe, the fictional Google featured in the Vince Vaughn motion picture The Internship.

At this time of year, Republic Bikes is busy assembling holiday and year-end orders for employers who want to give the gift of wellness. Pack, who is CEO of the Florida-based business, says his team serves many corporate and small business clients who put their logos on bikes that employees can use to get around campus, ride to lunch, or use for exercise breaks during the day.

For instance, Name.com contracted Republic to design a Name.com-branded bicycle in a few sizes and styles and gave each employee one that they could commute on. The design firm 360 Architecture rewarded its employees with a program that allowed each one to design their own 360-branded bike, to be assembled and delivered in time for the holidays. Other organizations, such as Los Angeles County and Kaiser Permanente Healthcare, offer the bikes for discounted purchase by employees as a wellness incentive. 

But perhaps the most interesting use for Republic Bikes are by small businesses engaged in “roving retail.” Starting at $400, bikes have become an affordable delivery vehicle for small urban businesses. For instance, Republic outfitted a fleet of bikes for Warby Parker with trays to enable bicycling sales people with mobile payment devices to sell sunglasses on the road. The Australian company Stolen Rum ordered a fleet of bikes with built-in flip-up lit bars; biking bartenders peddled its rum samples around Miami. Food supplier Chartwells ordered bikes equipped with blenders for making and selling smoothies on the go. And a “mobile car wash”in the southeast rolls right up to customers with all the supplies necessary in its cargo hold to clean a car parked on the street.

“We really leave it up to the customers’ imagination,” Pack says. “We work with them to design a bicycle that makes sense and has aesthetics that are fun and exciting and match their personality, and then we make it. The whole process is quick. We can put a fleet together from initial phone call to riding in under two weeks.”

As for what will come next from Republic, Pack says, “We’re always tinkering. We have a new line of customizable childrens’ cargo bicycles that are soul crushingly cute.” 

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