When musician David Byrne stopped in Minneapolis a couple of weeks ago for a forum on bicycling, he mentioned on stage that he had a chance to visit local bike rack manufacturer, Dero Bike Racks
We checked in with Dero co-owner Hans Steege last week to ask about getting a shout-out
from Byrne, as well as how business has been lately.
The fifteen-year-old company has cruised through the recession. Steege said Dero hasn't had to lay off anyone from its Seward neighborhood shop, which has been busier than ever. He declined to share specific revenue numbers, only that they've averaged double-digit growth in recent years.
What are the factors behind its growth? "A big one, I think, is just kind of a sea change in the way that Americans are looking at bicycling as a form of transportation," says Steege.
As for Byrne, Dero's relationship with him predates the musician's most recent visit. Steege and others from Dero visited Byrne in New York last year to pitch manufacturing a line of Byrne-designed bicycle racks. "It's not a done deal yet, but we're hoping it works out," says Steege.
Even though it wasn't their first meeting, it was still a rush to have the former Talking Head pay a visit. "He's a really interesting, mild-mannered guy. Very humble and super creative. It was a lot of fun to have him walk around our shop, look at our stuff and give us his two cents."
Dero's customers include cities, schools, corporate campuses, and homeowners. It recently started rolling out a system it calls the Dero ZAP
, a solar-powered check-in station for tracking and rewarding students or employees who commute by bicycle.
Source: Hans Steege, Dero Bike Racks
Writer: Dan Haugen