Velo+ Maps Coffee: 2015 Kansas SBDC at JCCC Emerging Business of the Year
Bikes + coffee and sometimes beer is the fun and somewhat intriguing message that will greet you when you visit velopluskc.com – the website of Velo+ Maps Coffee.
Vincent Rodriquez originally came to the Kansas SBDC at Johnson County Community College with the purpose of meeting with a consultant for a business plan review and analysis of financial projections. Vincent worked with John Addessi, consultant at the Kansas SBDC at JCCC on not only these initial goals, but additional needs for financing the business moving forward.
According to Vincent, “In the year before moving forward with my plan I visited other shops, had conversations with many people and studied many documents; however none were more impactful than having an honest and open conversation about the business with John. Since then I have consulted with John to help get me in front of funding sources for the SBA loan I received to purchase the (commercial) roaster and the working capital I needed to help continue to drive the business forward. The statistical data he shared allowed critical thinking and decision making.”
With Velo+ Maps Coffee, Vincent has created an eclectic yet synergistic mix of products and services in his unique Lenexa business.
The bicycle side of the business focuses on building custom bicycle frames crafted on site and in sight of customers. “Handmade frame building is a lost art and I wanted to extend the experience of a bike shop and coffee roastery while sharing with my customers how we do it,” shared Vincent.
The “+” in Velo+ name hints that this is an environment far different from other bicycle shops. Vincent describes it this way: “We are a bicycle shop that engages our customers with knowledge and community. We are a coffee roastery that educates our customers on the relationship with coffee from tree to cup.” The sum is a business with amazing vitality, customer engagement, and growth.
Since opening, Velo+ has added a commercial coffee roaster and offers their own coffees as well as custom brews for other businesses. The original concept was for an in-shop café, but Vincent decided to move forward with the roaster as wholesale coffee is a scalable product. The decision has enabled Vincent to “refocus on the big pieces of the business.”
While the primary coffee focus is on wholesale accounts, retail customers can also sample Velo+ coffee brews – and even beer microbrews. In fact, Vincent “wants people to hang out” and this engagement with his customers is extraordinarily important to the success of Velo+.
Fully embracing social media, the shop has been rewarded with extraordinary reviews which laud their customer service: “The owner spent a lot of time showing me some bikes in my range, and fitting me for a test ride, and then grabbed one of his own bikes and went out riding around the neighborhood with me – totally unexpected.” One customer praised the uniqueness of the shop: “I love their selection of gear, bikes and the uniqueness of having coffee, classes on touring, repair and frame building and the friendly atmosphere.”