We are excited to launch our new series of Member Spotlights in 2021! Our first spotlight is on Greg Hardy from Rockgeist-Bikepack USA. We asked Greg to share with us his experience being a part of the OBA network.

Greg Hardy of Rockgeist, with his dog
photo credit www.bikepacking.com

“The OBA played a huge part in my decision to move to Asheville and start my business. At the time, I believed the OBA would help provide the encouragement, mentorship, and resources I needed to get my work off the ground. Looking back, 3 years later, the people and companies of the OBA have exceeded all expectations. Here are just a few of the milestones the OBA has helped us achieve:

  • Grew from a part time job, sewing in my apartment to opening a workshop and employing 6 people on our team.
  • Provided or connected me with continued education from smart, talented people in areas where we need the most help (e.g., Alpine Course, Waypoint Accelerator) 
  • Help secure a loan from Mountain Biz Works that was needed for equipment to offer welded, waterproof gear.
  • Recently awarded no.12 in Venture 15’s fastest growing startups in the Asheville area. 

A few specific examples of how member companies have contributed to our success

  • When I first opened, Lightheart Gear was instrumental in helping me get the right equipment in the shop and helped find the material vendors I needed. Judy, owner of Lightheart, gave me much needed encouragement to help get past the struggle of my first year.
  • Cane Creek, offered my first industry project and a number of their employees were my first asheville customers. 
  • Industry Nine, helped develop and manufacture our spacelink, an item that was first-of-its-kind in the bike industry and has been responsible for a tremendous amount of exposure and product sales. 
  • To date, Kitsbow has placed our largest local retail order to help showcase our business in their Old Fort Ride House
  • Diamond Brand Gear shared an intimate look into how they run their business and we have done our best to model many elements of their cut and sew operation in ours. We are currently exploring contract work with Diamond Brand to make a sub assembly that requires a clicker press too large and too expensive to bring into our workshop.    

Rockgeist has a long way to go, but we look forward to our continued improvement with help from the OBA.