Mon, April 22, 2024

California CEO stops in Aiken for bike palooza

Don DiCostanzo is the CEO and co-founder and travels on the tour bus with other executives. Next stops include trips to Pedego stores in Lake Oconee, Atlanta and St.Simons Island. (Photo by Josh Heath)

Ronney Hughes retired from the U.S. Army after serving his country for more than 20 years. Like many veterans, Hughes, 64, struggled to stay physically active and having rotator cuff surgery made exercise even more of a challenge. That all changed when he and his wife, Pauline, heard about Pedego electric bikes, which have an integrated battery and motor that assist riders. Customers choose the difficulty level by adjusting the bike’s settings.

A few months ago, the couple traveled almost an hour from their home in Thomson to the Aiken Pedego store located at 4019 Pavilion Pass, next to the Woodside Plantation gated community. There they met Coker Day, owner of the Aiken store, who didn’t use this interaction as an opportunity to make a quick sale. Instead, Day took his time to educate Ronney and Pauline about the company’s various bike models and their features. “Coker has great hospitality,” says Pauline, who serves as a chaplain at Doctor’s Hospital. “He was very, very patient.”

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Ronney says riding the bike is also great exercise that works not only his legs but also his back and shoulders. “You dread working out when you’ll be in pain,” Pauline adds. But the bikes are also equipped with Blue Tooth technology to play music, and hers has a horn to scare away dogs.

Ronney and Pauline Hughes bought their Pedego bike three months ago and are very satisfied riders and customers. (Photo by Josh Heath)

The e-bike industry has experienced explosive growth in the past couple of years, which is due, at least in part, to COVID-19 concerns, according to the Allied Market Research website. The site explains that electric bikes are a convenient, safe, and eco-friendly alternative to public transportation. They also provided a way to exercise outdoors when many gyms closed temporarily last spring. Another leading industry research site, marketsandmarkets.com, says the worldwide e-bike industry is projected to grow from about $41 billion in 2020 to $70 billion in 2027.

The Hughes family bought two bikes, and say the service didn’t stop after the sale. A store employee delivered the bikes and took his time to ensure they understood all the features required for a safe, comfortable ride.

Throughout “The Palooza” more than 50 people attended and some got to ride. (Photo by Josh Heath)

The couple came to the Aiken store for its Palooza event Saturday, April 17th to show appreciation to its customers and showcase their brand to the local community. The all-day event included a group ride with Day, customers, and even company executives, as well as free food, drinks, and live entertainment. Store employees also educated potential customers on the models, features, and accessories the company sells.

Ronney, owner of Automotive Concepts – a vehicle repair shop in Augusta – says they often ride their bikes for three or four hours at a time, which includes stopping periodically when other people want to know more about them.

Don DiConstanzo, CEO and co-founder of Pedego Electric Bikes, was one of the executives who came to Saturday’s event. In 2006, DiConstanzo bought his first electric bike, which came in a box and didn’t even work after he assembled it. Once he got it fixed, he fell in love with the bike, and “I bought seven of them,” says DiConstanzo, who previously owned a bike shop in Newport Beach, Calif.

One of the things he didn’t love was that the battery was so visible, which is the reason DiConstanzo wanted Pedego bikes to have a more integrated design when he co-founded the company in late 2008. “Over that next year, we sold 444 bikes,” he explains.

DiConstanzo says the company’s numbers just about doubled the previous year’s sales in both 2010 and 2011. He says the company now has 162 stores: 148 in the U.S., one in Mexico City, one in Bermuda, and 12 in Canada.

DiConstanzo isn’t just the CEO of the company; he’s also a Pedego bike rider. “I’m 25 pounds lighter,” he states. “Energy builds energy,” so the more sedentary people become, the less energy they have, says DiConstanzo. The bikes range in price from about $1,700 to $5,500 depending on the type and features. Pedego manufactures 18 different models, including tandem and even a foldable bike. He says all except the base model come with a five-year warranty. The company’s motto is “Hello, fun,” where the customer comes first. DiConstanzo says the company has never been sued and receives very few complaints. “If it makes it to my desk, you didn’t do your job,” he tells his employees.

Cynthia Newcomb is the Director of Business Development and spends much of her time helping new store owners with the launch of their store. (Photo by Josh Heath)

Like DiConstanzo, Cynthia Newcomb, the company’s director of business development, says she started as a bike rider. “I get paid to ride bikes,” says Newcomb, who previously worked in medical device sales for 15 years. After many years, she found her job to be boring and unfulfilling, so she sought career advice from the CEO who happened to have an opening in the company. At Pedego, “It’s about relationships and service,” Newcomb says. “It’s about service after the sale.”

The Hughes family couldn’t agree more and is thankful for Pedego.

They look forward to a return to one of their favorite riding spots at Patriots Park in Grovetown. “It does everything from rough terrain to smooth terrain,” he explains. “It’s never-ending fun.”

 

 

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