A hand-carved sign hangs on a tree in his driveway advertising the Web site that sells bike trailers, bags and racks. But despite the very bike-friendly nature of Flagstaff, Lipton concedes that BikeShopHub.com and its companion sites are more widely known on the Internet than in his own home town. "Only 3 or 4 percent of our sales are local," he said.
Israel, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Taiwan and China are just some of the countries to which Lipton has shipped his wares.
The business started about five years ago out of his garage in Railroad Springs when Lipton started selling a plastic bike case and trailer to be pulled behind bikes. Although the case was the inspiration for the business, he quickly found out what his customers were really interested in."The trailer was selling better than the product," he said.
So Lipton established BikeTrailerShop.com and started selling various trailers, bike bags and racks from well-known brands like Extrawheel USA, Burly Cargo Trailers and Xtracycles.
Recently, Lipton has rolled out his own trailer -- called the Wandertec Bongo trailer. The flatbed, two-wheeler trailer is built here in Flagstaff out of a small granny flat behind his house.
The frame is made by a local metalsmith, with members of his six- person staff cutting the wood platform on a specialized router.
The company has the other parts shipped in from various suppliers around the globe.
Lipton smiles as he tilts the trailer back, exposing a one-of-a- kind hitch they designed."We could have patented it," he says proudly.
Prices starts at $319 for the hand-built trailer.
Prices at BikeShopHub.com range from 99 cents for replacement pins to more than $1,000 for high-end baby "chariots" designed to be pulled behind bikes.
Surprisingly, the expensive carriers are selling, despite the recession."We find we do very well with the high-end product," he said.
Lipton guesses that many local bike shops are unwilling to stock the costly merchandise -- which come in various colors, sizes and configurations -- out of fear that they might sell quickly.
Lipton estimates that BikeShopHub.com did roughly $1.2 million in sales last year.
But despite running a successful business, Lipton said he is currently financing his entire inventory with an American Express credit card that caters to small businesses like his.
Lipton had been using a $32,000 revolving line of credit with a national bank for years until the bank decided to cut his credit limit in half after he had paid off all outstanding debt. He said the new credit line was insufficient to keep his business running.
With his shelves nearly overflowing, Lipton said he hopes to move into another Flagstaff location -- his third since starting the business five years ago -- this fall.
2505 N. Center St.
Josh Lipton, president of BikeShopHub.com, sits on a work bench in the firm's head office. The company is doing more than $1 million in annual sales mostly through the Web
The Wandertec Bongo is a multi-purpose bike trailer manufactured in Flagstaff by BikeShopHub.com.
The Caddie is part of the Classic line of trailers, made to be functional and cost efficient. The Caddie includes the CTS cycling kit, and is ready to roll as a bike trailer right out of the box. This trailer is compatible with the Baby Supporter so you can ride with younger kids, but has a large cock pit to accommodate larger children as well. At home storage is a breeze with the patented enfold system and easy to remove quick release wheels. Weather protection, a sunscreen panel, and ample room for 2 tots, the Caddie is great fun for full family excursions $337.50 The Cheetah 1, for one child, presents the best value to feature ratio of the X-Country carriers while still featuring Chariot's uncompromising construction quality. The Cheetah's lightweight, aluminum frame makes it a breeze to push or pull, whether behind a bike, on skis, following you down the trail on a hike, or in front of you while in jogger or stroller mode. Just add the accessories you need to complete your daily adventures.
The Cheetah is sold as a chassis only. You need to select at least one of the accessories below in order to use the carrier.
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