On a roll: UW-Green Bay grads steer busy business
David DeKeyser ’94 and Rebecca Cleveland-DeKeyser ’95 are parked in a nice spot as spring draws closer in Northeastern Wisconsin.
Their retail shop, The Bike Hub, fronts on one of De Pere’s busiest thoroughfares. Out their back door, the popular Fox River Trail draws bicycle, roller-blade and walking traffic much of the year.
They’re also well-positioned in an industry that has weathered the recession better than most. Fitness concerns, interest in comparatively inexpensive recreation, new and more comfortable bike designs, and even the rails-to-trails movement — which has paved attractive new bike paths both rural and urban — have kept sales and service rolling.
“We have been fortunate,” Rebecca says. “We employ nine people, we have a very loyal customer base, and of course, the great thing is we go to work every day at something we love.”
Both she and Dave are seriously into the sport. Between the two of them — Rebecca raced professionally — they have extensive experience in long-distance touring, mountain biking, BMX track racing and even cyclo-cross, where racers carry their bikes along sections of the obstacle-studded courses.
Dave has more than 20 years experience in bicycle retail and does most of their purchasing and bookkeeping. Rebecca taught middle school for eight years before joining the business, and has since become a specialist in the art of “the fit,” making adjustments to best match bike and buyer.
Their clientele includes a mix of serious commuters, bike tour travelers and elite athletes — endurance riders, racers and triathletes among them — but also a healthy number of casual beginners, families and “trailer-totin’ parents.”
The DeKeyers say their “non-business” UW-Green Bay majors — Rebecca’s was Elementary Education, Dave’s were Psychology and Human Development — prepared them well for business success.
“My degree is in Psychology, and I’m obviously not a psychologist,” says Dave. “The specific major wasn’t as important as the fact I learned how to learn, how to research things, analyze facts, write papers, approach problems and make good solid decisions. That skill set is so valuable…. A class such as statistics, with the analytical skills, you use that every day… I think the value of a four-year degree is enormous.”
Rebecca agrees: “It may seem I’m working outside of my degree (Education), but I’m still working, planning, and communicating with people including employees, customers, even family and friends every minute of every day. My world wouldn’t be as interesting or fulfilling without the “big picture” insights and skills that I gained along with my degree.”