Unison Bike Lab
You can’t go to a bank and just get a loan for a start-up business at this point. The Progress Fund pushed me to do [business planning] that I otherwise probably wouldn’t do. It was time-consuming but it was time well spent.
When Tom Demagall opened Golden Triangle Bike, cycling culture in Pittsburgh was taking of its training wheels. More than a decade later, he and General Manager Bryan Heller outfit over 900 people a year for multi-day trips down the Great Allegheny Passage rail trail. Although Pittsburgh has become a biking destination, it doesn’t have outlets that custom-build bikes with frames, wheels and components tailored to the individual rider. “The customer has a stake in building their own bike,” explains Tom.
Tom, Bryan and a third partner decided to fill that gap by launching Unison Bike Lab. They turned to the lender that has nurtured scores of trail-focused businesses. The Progress Fund helped them to hone their business plan, then loaned them $100,000.
Located in The Highline complex on Pittsburgh’s South Side along a spur trail of the Great Allegheny Passage, Unison’s three garage bays invite passing riders into a celebration of the beauty and efficiency of pedal power. Inside, they change flat tires, customize $10,000 all-carbon bicycles, and anything in between. Alongside The Highline’s growing roster of cafés, breweries and shops, Unison is helping to fill one more gap in the city’s bike culture, says Tom: “It’s going to be a hub for cyclists, for sure.”View Story as PDF