From late '84 to late '94 I (Grant) designed and helped spec bicycles and worked on catalogues for the U.S. division of Bridgestone Cycle, Japan's largest bike maker. Bridgestone closed its U.S. office after ten years of no profit, when the dollar-to-yen exchange rate plummeted to the point where it became impossible to even break even. I was 40, and started Rivendell with $89,000, a mix of retirement money, savings, loans, and money raised by selling stock to friends.
True to the cliche, Rivendell was in my garage for two years. Now we have 6,000 square feet at about $1.10 per square foot/month. It's cheap rent in an expensive town. We like it here a lot. It's easy to get to, close to good food and riding. We've been profitable nine of the past 23 years, but cash flow is our own personal wolf-at-the-door. Sales are about $2.8 million dollars per year. We're just breaking even, there are no top-heavy salaries, and we fret a lot during slow weeks (and months). I do, at least.
Our mission is to make things that wouldn't be made if we weren't here, to offer an alternative to racing-centric bikes and parts, and to espouse a different approach to riding. And to resurrect and keep healthy many of the better ideas, designs, and styles of bicycles, clothing, and accessories that we personally like to use or wear. If you'd like to know more, just ask. It's not a secret business, there's nothing to hide and nothing off limits. -Grant
A selection of parts from Nitto, Sugino, Brooks, Tektro, Panaracer, Silver, MKS and more.