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High Gear Cyclery and Fitness

2003 Emerging Business of the Year

Matt Brown started High Gear Cyclery and Fitness in February, 1999, when he was 21 years old. He was previously employed by another bicycle shop in Emporia, whose owner did not wish to sell the business as a going concern, and instead chose to liquidate the assets and retire. Anticipating that this would happen, Matt’s entrepreneurial character led him to start his own business. He originally contacted the Emporia State University SBDC in July, 1998 for help with his start-up plan.

The SBDC consultant introduced Matt to the business planning process, helped him analyze his start-up costs and generated month-by-month financial projections for a three-year period. Just as Matt had planned, his new business was open before spring break, 1999. He had covered his bases very well and successfully lined up dealership agreements for the products he felt would best accommodate his market area. He had rented and remodeled his new location at 407 Commercial Street in Emporia and created an attractive store front.

As Matt’s planning paid off and his business quickly grew, he sought an opportunity to purchase his own building and move the business. In January of 2000, Matt worked with the SBDC again for financial planning of the expansion. By May, 2000 he had renovated and moved into his current location at 504 Commercial in downtown Emporia.

Matt, his wife Stephanie and his parents, Marvin and Gayle Brown, have worked very diligently to build a successful and attractive business. This business has made an important contribution to the Emporia area through not only increased sales, but through the development and improvement of an existing building in the downtown district, and the customer base it draws from a 100-mile radius.