I was born in NYC and raised on Long Island. I had a paper route before I was a teenager. Riding my bike around and throwing newspapers at front doors. This must have ignited my entrepreneurial spirit.
When I was 25, I bicycled by myself across the entire United States. I started in California, went to Cape Cod, then down to Key West. On my way back to CA, I rode through Colorado. Right away, I knew I wanted to live there. I moved to the Rocky Mountains and worked for one of the best bike shops in the country.
After living in Colorado for many years, I moved to San Francisco in December of 2010. I moved here because I figured it would be the best place to live while transforming my gender from male to female (a thought that had been in my mind long before I was delivering newspapers)
I’m finally in my correct body and fulfilling my dream of owning a bicycle shop.
I had been sleeping on the sidewalk for almost 2 years. I was at an abysmal low point in my life due to the costs involved with gender transformation, prejudices I confronted when looking for employment, and the emotional roller coaster the hormones put me on.
While visiting Treasure Island looking for a place to sleep, I was staring at the new Bay Bridge (which, at the time, still had not open). I knew the new Bay Bridge was going to have a bike lane, but the realization that a thousand bicyclists a day would be coming from the East Bay to Treasure Island suddenly became vivid. I knew that whoever built a bike shop on Treasure Island would “win the lottery”, They’d rule the world.
I took all the dollars I’d been stashing away and leased a basement, in the back of a building, on an island that hardly anyone knew existed. I found an insurance agent that would insure my shop. Filed my fictitious business name. I bought the basic tools I’d need. Just like that… I was in business. But that first day in business was filled with anxiety. I didn’t have next month’s rent, so I needed to do lots of business right away.
And the business trickled in at first, Word started getting out on the island that we had a bike shop. More people were bringing me their bikes; taking advantage of not having to bring their bike into the city for a repair.
I am an excellent mechanic with top-notch customer service skills. I have repaired many bicycles for Treasure Island residents. I have sold many bicycles to residents as well as to people from all around the Bay Area. I have become an authorized dealer for Fuji bikes, SE, and Phat cycles. I utilized my first Kiva loan to get my shop “off the ground”. With this Kiva loan I want to expand inventory and start hiring employees.
I will hire as many transgender people as possible. I want to be the leader in San Francisco for employing transpersons.
I will be able to buy additional tools and inventory, install a 2nd mechanic’s workstation, hire employees, and grow my fleet of rental bikes. All of which will increase daily customers and sales.