HUNTSVILLE, AL (BRAIN)—Matt Blevins has social networking to thank for making his shop a reality. Well, that and heckuva a lot of hard work.
When he lost his job as a mechanic at a local shop, Blevins set up his own repair operation out of his back yard in Huntsville, Alabama. Word about the quality of his work quickly spread via Facebook. Soon he was doing 30 to 40 repairs a week, and the yard could no longer contain his burgeoning business.
“I was totally anti-Facebook until last February. Facebook is what really what made the shop happen,” Blevins said. He secured a loan, sold his house and truck and set up Blevins Bicycle Company in an 8,000-square-foot storefront one block from where he grew up in South Huntsville.
Blevins and his father, both of whom dabble in woodworking and cabinet making, did the entire build-out themselves, including making the 23-foot-long bar where customers can sit on Park Tool repair stools and sip fresh java. A decommissioned 1989 wood-paneled Jeep Wagoneer inside the shop serves as the car rack display.
The shop had its grand opening in September and sells bikes from Giant, Quintana Roo and Niner. Blevins has been staying busy doing bike fits—he holds certifications from Specialized’s BG FIT School and Slow Twitch’s Fit Institute—building wheels, taking in a steady stream of repairs, holding repair clinics and moving high-end tri bikes out the door.
“The cycling community here in Northern Alabama is absolutely massive—way bigger than anyone would think. People around here have a lot of money and are willing to spend it,” he said.
(PHOTO: Blevins Bicycle Company, Huntsville, Alabama)