2017-07-12 / Front Page

A Message From QEDC Executive Director Seth Bornstein

To The Editor:

I’ve done a triathlon.
When I was a lad, my older cousin Richie held on to my two-wheeler for hours until I could ride it by myself. Twenty-seven years later, my friend Bill assured me that I could finish a marathon (and not come in last). And five years ago, my late friend Dave encouraged me to take a splash. So when you combine my biking, running, and swimming, I’ve completed a few triathlons – just spread out over 55 years!
Sorry, Richie. I’ve kept up with the running and swimming, but not the biking. It’s been on my mind recently, but it’s not so simple. In the other sports, one just needs some good sneakers or ear plugs and goggles, but cycling takes some serious equipment.
Good thing Nomad Bike Shop is right down the block from the Entrepreneur Space on 37th Street in Long Island City. As it happens, owner Damon Straub is a QEDC client. He practiced architecture for three decades until opting for a new challenge. He came to us, and we reviewed his business plan. Inspired by a childhood mentor who owned motorcycles, his vision was to create more than a place to purchase and wheel away; he wanted a community hub where enthusiasts could repair their steeds, network, and learn from each other. Damon opened his store in LIC in 2015. As with many start-ups, the first year was tough, but he persisted. Last year, he moved to his current spot, a more traveled location off Northern Boulevard. This great leap of faith required capital, and QEDC was a trustee for his KIVA Zip loan. We believed in him.
Today, business is breaking away. Damon has four employees and he hosts entertainment, seminars, and Happy Hours, while making excellent use of social media (i.e., a great newsletter). What he has found very satisfying is helping immigrants – some of whom have never biked before – learn the joys of the sport and become part of his community.
QEDC’s world is filled with go-getters like Damon. The winners of the 2017 StartUP! Business Plan Competition – Nicole Russell from Last Dragon Pizza, sisters Sherifa Adams and Mona Belizaire from swimwear company NEISH, and twin sisters Laken and Carlissa King, who manufacture female dolls via Elle & Cee World Girls – are all go-getters. I look forward to writing about their successes in the future.
We’re planning for our next fiscal year now. Despite whatever doom and gloom the pundits prognosticate, we are still strong. E-Spacers are selling at food markets around the city this summer. The 2018 StartUP! – now sponsored by Resorts World Casino New York City – kicks off in September. The Entrepreneurial Assistance Program starts in October. for a full list of QEDC programs, visit www.queensny.org/qedc/business/programs/.
Will I actually start biking again? Would I actually do a non-stop triathlon? Stranger things have happened, and a good challenge is always fun. I don’t have wheels yet, although Damon did give me an official Nomad cap. It’s a beginning!
Seth Bornstein
Executive Director, QEDC

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