We had the good fortune of connecting with Douglas Emerson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Douglas, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
I remember people’s names like nobody you’ve ever met before.
What should our readers know about your business?
I can cite two reasons why University Bikes has flourished over the last 35 years, and why I’ve watched over 40 bike shops in Boulder fail in the same time span. As I already mentioned, I remember people’s names, and I cannot overstate how much of an impact that has on customer loyalty. In today’s impersonal, digitalized world, people often don’t feel recognized, and greeting someone by their name is the ultimate form of recognition. The second reason is that we don’t have an elitist attitude, which unfortunately is common in bike shops. We hire people who are passionate about bikes, and enjoy introducing beginners to the joy of cycling. From a management standpoint, it’s much easier to train employees when they love the products we sell. It’s not like we’re selling toaster ovens. We sell, rent, and repair the single greatest transportation invention of all time, and our store culture exudes enthusiasm towards that goal.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Eldorado Canyon State Park is the most often overlooked gem in the Boulder area. Just a few miles out of town, it is spectacular. I’m assuming anyone visiting Boulder would walk the Pearl St. Mall, but the West End of Pearl St., which includes the three blocks west of the Mall, is a dynamic street scene of restaurants, shops, and cafes. Boulder has B-cycles, some of them electric assist, in stations around town, allowing tourists to enjoy the bike path system. A bike can go about 5 times the distance one can cover on foot, so it’s a great way to see more of the town. The University of Colorado is stunningly beautiful, and I’d recommend a stroll around campus to any visitor. I always take visitors to Whole Foods, if only to people watch. It offers an authentic caricature of our city, where every 5th person is carrying a yoga mat.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Dave Query, Big Red “F” restaurant organization. We came up together in Boulder, both of us starting in the early 80’s. He has always been a great sounding board for me when I want to discuss business matters.
Facebook: university bicycles
Personal Photo: Cecilia Alvarez-Cedillo First Three Shop Photos: Evan Semón Photography Long hair hippie photo: Jenny Arndt Shop Staff Photo: Douglas Emerson