An Interview with Young Entrepreneur Tyler Allsopp of Doug’s Bicycle based in Belleville. dougsbikes.com
Describe your business.
Doug’s Bicycle is a boutique bicycle store and full-service community bike shop. We seriously love bikes and want to share our passion for cycling by offering the Belleville and Quinte area access to some of the best bikes and gear in the world, putting on great local events, and supporting local riders. In our store you will find some of the industry’s best brands like Giant, Specialized, Norco, Santa Cruz, and Cervelo as well as expert service and quick repairs to help you have your best cycling experience.
How long have you been here?
Dougs’s Bicycle was founded by Doug Eliis in 1981. After a few years he passed the business on to his brother Neil. In 2012 myself and Jim Forbes purchased the business, starting a new chapter for the Belleville cycling staple. Now my longtime friend and business partner Derek Kulker and I are continuing to expand and redefine the store. Though we have been Doug-less for 30+ years the legend of Doug looms large, and yes you can call me Dougie.
What brought you to the region?
We are a homegrown brand, operated by enthusiastic, experienced cyclists who grew up riding in the area. I started working at the store when I was 14, and to end up owning and running our local bike store with my friends has been an incredible experience.
What makes the Bay of Quinte region a good fit for your business?
The Bay of Quinte is a fantastic area to ride, and the cycling infrastructure and community continue to grow. Whether it’s new bike lanes in town, better roads to ride in Prince Edward County, recent grants to the MTB trails at Batawa Ski Hill, or the Belleville Skatepark, this area has something to ride for everyone.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in the area?
I had a teacher who told me that the four most important words in business are “What do you think?” This goes for customers, employees, competitors, suppliers, and definitely other entrepreneurs. Ask as many people as you can and listen to what they tell you.
What surprised you about starting a business in a smaller community?
I have been overwhelmed by the support from our community. I think in a small town you have the ability to have a big impact, and people genuinely appreciate your effort. Through putting on events, sponsorships, local donations, you can create great opportunities for people in your community. We have had hundreds of kids come out to BMX contests, races, and demo events over the years and it has been very rewarding for us, because these were the events that we wished we had when we were growing up.
Describe your perfect day off.
I wake up at an undetermined time with a five month old golden doodle named Oakley hurtling up onto the bed because my wife has let him in. Breakfast smoothie with a banana just slightly past prime. Hit the road or trails until lunch. Spend the afternoon working around the house, then off to the skatepark to ride BMX until dinner. BBQ up some dinner with my wife, then curl up on the couch with a good movie.
What’s your secret to surviving winter?
The winters are tough in a seasonal business like ours, but you just have to prepare for them. We reduce our staff and hours in the offseason but we are still kept busy with preseason orders, Christmas, and planning to make the coming season our best one yet!
What’s your favourite part of living in the BoQ?
The people here are great and it is a beautiful area. One of my favourite things is to bike over the Bay Bridge coming back from a ride into the County. On a perfect summer day, that high up over the water, Belleville looks incredible. Gets me every time.
Check back with us as we discover more BoQ Young Entrepreneurs.