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JUST BEGINNING Photos by Ron Sombilon, courtesy Velofix The Fix Is In Mercedes Sprinter vans are customized with marine batteries and magnetized storage surfaces. BY PETER SAUNDERS W Photo courtesy Velofix hen your first franchisee is an Olympic The vehicle is equipped for all sorts of champion, you’re going to get servicing, from installing chains to bleeding noticed—but Velofix, a mobile bicycle- hydraulic brakes. repair business, had already built a “We didn’t invent the idea of mobile bike high profile in Vancouver when gold-medal triathlete repair,” says co-founder Guillemet, also a Simon Whitfield opened the first franchise in Victoria competitive triathlete and marathon runner, earlier this year. “but we’re the first to have integrated it to Whitfield, who carried the Canadian flag during this extent. And once we got feedback, we the opening ceremony for the 2012 Summer realized franchising was the best way to Olympics in London, England, began to look for grow. We invested in proprietary appointment new opportunities when he retired from his sport booking, inventory management, automatic in 2013. order generation and customer relationship Canadian Olympic triathlon “I met two of Velofix’s founders, Davide Xausa management (CRM) systems, taking the back- champion Simon Whitfield is and Chris Guillemet, through endurance sports,” end issues away so franchisees can just get up Velofix’s first franchise. he tells Canadian Business Franchise. “I was very in the morning, turn on the Global Positioning impressed by the bike-repair van they’d come up with.” System (GPS) device in the van and start serving customers.” Velofix launched its first Mercedes Sprinter van in January Customers range from cycling enthusiasts to competitive 2013. The company’s third founder—Boris Martin, a certified racers on the go—for whom Velofix even boxes up bikes for professional bike mechanic and three-time Canadian national shipping to foreign destinations—to gyms equipped with entire track champion—customized it with marine batteries to provide fleets of stationary bikes that need regular maintenance. Word 20 hours of power, to avoid idling, and attached all of the repair has been spread through social media and community outreach tools magnetically to the walls of the van’s 2.5-metre tall and by bringing the van to races and charity events. five-metre long working space. At press time, Vancouver—long nicknamed ‘Bike City’— Customers simply book an appointment online and the van was about to get a second corporate-run van, while a second comes to them, offering on-site and pickup/dropoff options. franchise was set to open in Calgary. 82 Canadian Business Franchise | May 2014 CBF_May2014.indd 82 2014-04-02 4:05 PM