Spotlight on Brendan Poh and Cycle Craft
Name: Brendan Poh
Shop: Cycle Craft Bicycle Stores (www.cyclecraft.com)
Main Location: Parsippany, NJ
A former professional photographer, Brendan Poh sees cycling through an artist’s eyes. “I am obsessed with all things bicycle. I love old bikes, new bikes, weird bikes, race bikes. Road, mountain, hybrid – you name it. For me bikes are functional art that can transport a person, but can also transform a person,” says Poh, co-owner of Cycle Craft Bicycle Stores.
Poh’s passion for bikes extends beyond the doors of his shop to the community at large, building on Cycle Craft’s brand message ("Great Rides Start Here") and the company mission to connect people with the power of cycling as a healthy and positive lifestyle choice. Poh was instrumental in the creation of the Jersey Off Road Bike Association as well as the New Jersey Bike & Walk Coalition, serving as a founding member and chairman of both organizations. Cycle Craft co-owner Cat Brennan initiated an annual charity event known as "Turkey Bike", bringing cyclists together to collect and deliver turkeys and food to the Community Food Bank. In fact, the event has proven so popular that several other businesses have copied the concept.
The shop also sponsors a mountain bike team (Team Bulldog/Cycle Craft) as well as a triathlon club. “The MTB team is one of the best investments we have ever made in terms of what the members of the team do for the sport and for our business. The Tri club keeps us connected to a great community of local athletes,” says Poh.
Inside Cycle Craft’s retail stores, Poh and Brennan foster an atmosphere where everyone is made to feel welcome and will find a wide range of products. “What sets us apart is our super friendly staff that doesn't discriminate, our killer locations and our great selection of high value products and services,” says Poh. That, and owners that truly believe in the power of bikes. “Getting new people hooked on bikes and helping them realize that Edison was correct when he said that if we all did the things of which we are capable, we would literally astound ourselves,” explains Poh, when asked what he finds most rewarding about IBD ownership. “People on bikes prove that every day!”
Still, it’s not easy. Juggling the daily stream of emerging priorities, logging regular 70-hour workweeks and limited income are all challenges that Poh faces as a bike shop owner. “I think anyone who has survived in retail for as long as some of my colleagues and I have should get some sort of trophy or ribbon,” says Poh. But, he continues, “I can't see myself doing anything else!”
As for his personal cycling experience, Poh admits that, although he has been riding bikes for virtually his entire life, he has only completed one full century. He did feel the endurance burn at a Bicycle Business conference in Breckenridge, Colorado. “We went on a day-long bike ride over very challenging terrain at 12,000 feet. Not easy for an East Coast flatlander!” exclaims Poh.
It’s not always the longest, toughest rides that are the most meaningful, however. Poh’s favorite cycling memory? “The day I learned to ride a bike without training wheels!”