Student starts own bicycle repair business, helps community

Avery McNelly, senior in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management, started his own bicycle repair business to make extra money and to offer the community a more affordable option. (Miranda Snyder | The Collegian)

Finding a job while being a full-time student can be challenging, especially finding one that peaks your interest. Avery McNelly, senior in wildlife and outdoor enterprise management, found a way around these problems by creating his own job.

McNelly is the owner of A. McNelly Services, LLC.

McNelly Bicycle is the name his LLC does business under. McNelly said the bicycle company started about two and a half years ago when he realized he could make a little extra cash while helping other students and community members save money on bicycle repairs.

When he came to college, McNelly said he had bought a fairly new road bicycle to get to and from classes. When it started needing repairs, he took it to a local bike shop to have it fixed and was charged what he said was an outrageous amount.

“Once the same problem occurred again, I decided to learn to fix (the bicycle) myself,” McNelly said. “I took it apart and learned that the bike shop had taken short cuts and hadn’t done the work that was agreed upon. I decided from then on I would fix my bicycle anytime it needed work. That’s how I learned to work on bicycles. That’s how it all started. I did it to help the community while doing something I’m passionate about.”

McNelly said he handles the business side of McNelly Bicycles by himself but his friends and family are also a huge part of his success.

“They drive me to work hard and grow,” McNelly said. “They help me make business decisions and I can go to them for advice. There’s no way I would have the dedication of running my business without them.”

Daphne Park, senior in sociology and family studies and human services, is dating McNelly and helps him out when she can.

“As far as helping him goes, I definitely do not do any of the mechanical work except maybe hold a part when he needs an extra hand,” Park said. “The best part is that I got to design his logo since he knows how much I love art. I also help run his social media sites which is pretty fun.”

Park also said having him work from home is beneficial to both of them because it is easier to communicate while he is working.

“His business is the perfect example of how hard working and caring he is,” Park said. “He really just enjoyed working on bicycles and figured he could help people out for a cheap price so he did just that. I hope other student entrepreneurs can look at him as an example of what hard work and giving something a try can do.”

McNelly Bicycle is located in McNelly’s garage in Manhattan.

According to McNelly, some of the services his business provides are replacing parts, changing tires and tubes, complete tuneups, adjusting and centering brakes, adjusting shifters and derailleurs and cleaning and lubricating chains.

McNelly said he is capable of doing any repairs. His most common repair is a tuneup which includes shifter and derailleur adjustment, brake adjustment, wheel truing and lubrication.

Caroline Skidmore, junior in biology, is a client of McNelly’s and has had her bicycle repaired by McNelly after her breaks were destroyed in an accident she got in.

“I took it to him and he completely repaired the breaks, restored gears that I hadn’t had in months, aired up the tires and gave it an overall tuneup,” Skidmore said. “I was extremely happy with the experience. My bike ran even better than when I first bought it second hand. The price was a steal for the amount and quality of work done.”

Skidmore said she would highly recommend McNelly Bicycle to others and that McNelly knows what he’s doing and is skilled with repairing bikes.

“The work done was great and he, as a repairman, is kind and patient as well,” Skidmore said. “I would tell people to go to him before they go to any other business in Manhattan to get their bikes repaired.”

McNelly Bicycle also sells used bikes that McNelly repairs himself before selling. He acquires most of these bikes from classified ads online.

“I only have a few bicycles right now that are for sale since it is the off season,” McNelly said. “I have a couple of Giants and an Electra Townie for sale. They are all hybrid commuter bicycles.”

According to McNelly, business is a little slow right now because many people have stopped riding their bicycles since it is starting to get cold. Currently, the business is working on public acknowledgement.

“We are all over social media trying to gain followers and show the community that we exist,” McNelly said. “We would love to one day move into a public storefront where we can take walk-ins.”

McNelly Bicycle is the only DBA that is operating under the LLC. McNelly said he plans on entering into a couple other business fields in the future. He will be opening a small lawn care business this spring and is also working on putting together a hunting business.

“Our biggest goal is to help out the community,” McNelly said. “We offer huge discounts to college students, military and law enforcement. We look forward to this spring — we are capable of getting everyone’s bicycles ready for the road again.”