Home > people > Pedaling to Success: Eric and Naihma Deady and their bike shop push forward

Pedaling to Success: Eric and Naihma Deady and their bike shop push forward

Eric and Naihma Deady, Bike Commuter. Photo by Juan Carlos Delgado jcdphoto.com

Eric and Naihma Deady, Bike Commuter. Photo by Juan Carlos Delgado

Written by Mike Russell, Pivotal Writing
Photos by Juan Carlos Delgado

Eric and Naihma Deady are no strangers to rejection.

While they sought a loan to start their new business, The Bike Commuter, Eric recalls “being laughed out of a number of banks around Portland” back in early 2009. “They wouldn’t take a second look at our application.”

Fortunately, the Deadys saw the rejection as just another step on the path to opening their own business. Aside from the long-held dream of self-employment, they had an expected child to motivate them. At the time, Eric traveled extensively for his job; a situation that would soon become intolerable: “I needed work that would let me stay close to my family. I’d wanted to be my own boss for years, so this seemed like the right time to go for it.”

Having ‘wrenched on bikes’ over the years, Eric knew he could offer a richer customer experience; “We believe that there are no dumb questions, and that people can enjoy cycling on any sort of machine. It doesn’t matter if you ride a $100 bike or a $4,000 bike, so long as you’re having fun and living better for it. I didn’t start this business to make a quick buck; I want to share something that brings me great joy.”

The Bike Commuter Storefront. Photo by Juan Carlos Delgado jcdphoto.com

The Bike Commuter Storefront. Photo by Juan Carlos Delgado

That policy of acceptance has become a hallmark of the Deadys approach. The Bike Commuter’s friendly reputation has garnered a growing community of grateful customers. For Eric, “It’s very rewarding to hear ‘My bike has been running better than ever before!’ It’s even more satisfying to help a first-timer or someone with a disability get mobile. Support from customers and the community is validation and vindication of my dream.”

Among all the proud moments, one in particular readily leaps to Eric’s lips; “Getting final word from Mercy Corps NW on financing. That was a great day for us.” At a time when the economy was slowing and credit was scarce, Eric and Naihma had heard plenty of ‘No’ and were left with few alternatives.

Eric Deady plying his trade. Photo by Juan Carlos Delgado jcdphoto.com

Eric Deady plying his trade. Photo by Juan Carlos Delgado

In retrospect, Eric is glad that traditional banks rejected his application; “Our chances of success would have diminished greatly. We needed more engagement than a wad of cash and a loan payment. We might not be here if it weren’t for Mercy Corps NW. They helped us avoid some major problems that a bank might not have helped us through. MCNW patiently answered all of our questions, and really held our hand through the whole process.”

An intimate familiarity with rejection now affirms Eric and Naihma Deady appreciation of the value of acceptance, and informs the way they help their growing community of customers.

Find welcoming support for your biking needs. Contact Eric or Naihma Deady at The Bike Commuter at pdxbikecommuter.com or (503) 505-9200

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Small Business AdministrationServices at Mercy Corps NW is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the US Small Business Administration (SBA) All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the SBA.

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  1. Elma Karam
    April 19, 2011 at 9:00 am | #1

    Great story!!! I also own a small business, and we are going through tough times right now as owners, but I wish them alot of luck and success!
    Work hard and you will make it!!!

    • April 19, 2011 at 11:31 am | #2

      Hi Elma, thanks for the kind words. What is your business? – Loren

  2. Shirley Santino
    April 20, 2011 at 3:20 pm | #3

    My husband and I live in California but our son goes to college in Portland. We took his 30 year old hand me down Peugeot to The Bike Commuter for repairs and they treated him with the utmost respect and made him feel proud of his bicycle. He’ll definitely go back to them for any bicycle needs as long as he stays in the area. We’re even considering buying our next bikes from them when we come to visit! Great friendly people!

    • April 21, 2011 at 10:17 am | #4

      Great, I’m sure Eric and Naihma appreciate the feedback! They are fine folk at the Bike Commuter.

  3. May 2, 2011 at 10:47 am | #5

    This is a well written article, it would be great to keep these profiles coming on a regular basis… I think it helps people to see that small business ownership is within reach and just takes persistence, hard work and planning.

    • May 2, 2011 at 11:49 am | #6

      Thank you Gabe. You are a talented web designer. I wish you luck

      Loren.

  4. erica
    May 2, 2011 at 12:03 pm | #7

    As a fellow PDX entrepreneur, it is heartening to hear a success story. The recession has brutalized many small businesses. Some days you wonder if marching to your own drummer, following your passion and trusting your gut is really the right thing to do – or even viable.

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