DANA POINT, CA (BRAIN)—Darrin Duhamel said to hell with the corporate world seven years ago.
"I decided to burn all the suits in my closet and open a small business," said Duhamel, owner of Revo Bicycles in Dana Point. Considering his two passions in life were biking and scuba diving, the choice was made simple by the lack of two-wheeled services in Dana Point. "I really wanted to have ties in the community," he added.
Besides offering up bicycle services and expertise inside its walls, Revo is going into its third year sponsoring the Dana Point Grand Prix. This year's race drew 7,000 locals, with 350 children racing in the younsters' race.
"Ninety-nine percent [of those people] probably haven't seen a bike race before," Duhamel said. He expects at least 15,000 attendees next year.
Last year Revo won for "Business of the Year" in Dana Point, not only because the shop sponsors a big local race, but because the shop has become a gathering place for the community.
"On weekends this place gets crazy," Duhamel said.
The reason for this craziness might have something to do with bikers and their affinity for coffee. Tucked into the front, right portion of the store is a coffe/tea bar with seating.
"It's created an environment of a destination location," he said. Next year, Revo will be adding a more relaxed do-it-yourself coffee bar area for the biker who is truly on the move.
You might be hard pressed to find an owner as uncompromising as Duhamel. When approached not too long ago by a certain brand to become a concept store, Duhamel most likely already had his black marker out to clear out inventory of that brand.
"I resisted instantly," Duhamel said. "Good customers want choices. Manufacturers have to realize that we're they're customers, not their employees." In the coming year, Revo is adding another top tier brand while most likely offering some new "boutique" brands as well, letting his customers decide what brand they want.
Until then Duhamel is just a man waking up each morning living a dream.
"I'm around great bikes and I've got a cup of coffee in my hand," he said.