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National Mom and Pop Business Day

by Beau Grant on March 24, 2022

National Mom and Pop Business Day

The dream of owning your own business and doing what you love for a living is alive and kicking! We've heard many upsetting stories over the last two years about businesses having to close due to the pandemic... it’s great to hear about a business who, like ZiZZO, was able to make it. Sheltering in place may have put many small “mom and pop” shops out of business for good, but as they say, “Sometimes one door closes and another one opens.”  

We want to share a powerful success story that is all about perseverance and most likely only happens in smaller communities.  

In the city of Livermore, about 50 miles east of San Francisco, California, a young bike mechanic in his early 20s started his own business.  A.J Wright was always eager to get to work to start wrenching on the next project at Livermore Cyclery.  

The longtime owners decided to close the shop for good just before the pandemic started. AJ grabbed a few workbenches and tried to figure out his next move. He soon got a new job working for an electrical contractor.  

Then March 16th 2020 came, and like so many of us, he stopped working per “shelter in place” orders. Wondering what to do to get by with no insurance, no income or savings, he decided to advertise on social media.  

He was willing to do some work from home on anyone's bike that needed a tune-up. Next thing you know, he is booking appointments with endless work piling up! It was going so great, he went and got the basic business license and formed an LLC.  

AJ's Bike Service Tune Up

Due to the pandemic and the bike boom, he was now providing the community with a service and making some money. Not so fast! There is always a catch, right? Someone complained on his street and the city asked him to cease and desist even though he felt he had the proper documentation!  

In order to move forward, AJ found himself conducting meetings on zoom with city officials and community leaders. He had a petition signed by over 10,000 people to help save his business vouching for its need and quality service. His story was all over the local and regional news including a small interview on KPIX Channel 5 San Francisco. View the footage here: Livermore Cites Bike Repairman for Working Out of His Garage  

The city finally relaxed some guidelines and let him work out of his garage with some limited hours of operation and A.J was on his way.  

After a small period of time a situation came up with having to move out of that residence. He wasn't sure what to do. Moving to a new location meant he would now have issues with doing his business all over again.  

 AJ's Bike Service and ZiZZO Folding Bike

Then he stumbled on an old auto garage around the block from his childhood home. The place was small but bigger than his garage and would be perfect. The current renters were just finishing their lease and he called to find out when it was available.  

He needed to act immediately! With the help of family and friends he got the funds together to get his foot in the door. Then one of his friends told him how his old shop he worked at was being remodeled and he could have all the counters and bike racks if he wanted.  

Perfect timing! He rented a U Haul and drove all of 2 miles to get everything he needed to get his shop going. A.J says his shop was “Built by family, ran by one.” 

 With the Mayor helping in a ribbon cutting ceremony AJ Wright has now opened AJ’s Bike Service: no employees, just A.J and his tools with racks of bikes ready to get fixed up. He already has seen 10-12 hr. days but he loves every minute of it. 
As the sun shines through the window and his garage doors are rolled up letting in a cool breeze people honk as they drive by and wave at A.J with a bike in the stand and a wrench in his hand. Congrats A.J from ZiZZO bikes! Visit his website here: https://www.ajsbikeservice.org/ 
Just for the heck of it we asked A.J to give his top 5 most requested repair services. 

  1. Tune Up. “Whenever you think you need one thing done but it's been more than a year most of the time, they find out they need a full tune up” 
  2. Chain Replacement. “They need to be changed like your car gets an oil change. Preventative maintenance!” 
  3. Tire Wear. “ Know what to look for so you don’t wait too long to change your tires” 
  4. Derailleur Cable/Housing. “Time and time again I notice housing recession and wear or kinks” 
  5. Tube Replacements. “I once did 14 in a day at a previous shop just with walk ups!” 

 ZiZZO Folding Bike Service


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