In 2014, Dave Sperstad was contemplating his next stage of life as a retiree when he had an epiphany. “Ever since I was thirteen years old, I wanted a bike shop. So, when I had the chance, I took my retirement money and started a business,” he says. Dave and his wife Susan, co-owners of Touright Bicycle in Little Falls, Minn., wanted a shop that was about more than just the bike. “We wanted our bike shop to be about community, friendship, health and belonging -- or even just a cup of coffee,” Susan explains. They wrote a business plan and shortly after contacted SCORE for mentorship. Dave explains: “I was so new at working for myself, I didn’t even know what to ask! I just wanted someone to answer my questions whenever something would come up.” Richard “Dick” Jordan became their SCORE mentor and immediately got to work, helping answer their questions about advertising, accounting and the shift to online work during COVID. “With Dick, I knew no question was too dumb. I knew he believed in us,” says Dave. It’s been eight busy seasons since Dave and Susan opened Touright Bicycle Shop and the business is growing and thriving. It is also now registered as a nonprofit to teach bike repairs and provide refurbished bikes to children, refugee families and residents of the nearby Native American reservation. Touright Bicycle Shop is the recipient of many awards including the 2021 “Small Business of the Year” from their local Chamber of Commerce and SCORE’s Small Business Award in 2017.Dave and Susan live and work in a rural and poor part of Minnesota, which can be a challenge for anyone looking to start a business. “Having SCORE out here and available to help us so we didn’t have to close the shop, that levels the playing field for folks like us,” he explains. Now Dave’s dream has come to life, his business is a vibrant part of their community and he is serving as a SCORE mentor for other local entrepreneurs with dreams of their own.
“Our mentors have been instrumental in helping our business become more profitable.” David reports. “Over the past year our revenue has increased. Thanks to our mentors we have a better cash flow which has allowed us to stay in business.”
Touright Bicycle Shop was selected as one of 102 state winners in the 2017 American Small Business Championship.
“We knew experience is the best teacher, so we couldn’t go wrong in reaching out to a SCORE mentor who had successfully run a small business,” David recalls.
The couple has worked with volunteer mentor Dick Jordan, who has provided guidance regarding accounting, bookkeeping, advertising, social media use, and financial reports.
The Sperstads have also participated in webinars concerning funding, marketing, social media, customer relationships, and accounting. “Each has provided us with improved hands-on information that, once implemented, help our business become more profitable,” David says.
“Our mentor has always been there when we reach out to him with a question,” he says. “He has the answer, an idea we are after or gets us in connection with someone who can consult with us and steer us in the right direction.”