Zen Bicycle launches into a boom
By Erik Siemers
Zen Bicycle Fabrication, Portland’s newest bicycle frame manufacturing plant, launched at a time that the need for their services is on the rise.
David and Jen Woronets have been met with a few surprises in the three months since they opened Zen Bicycle Fabrication, Portland’s newest bicycle frame manufacturing plant.
For one, they didn’t expect the Portland-area’s only other high-volume bike frame maker to get out of the business just as their North Portland shop opened.
They also didn’t foresee that, by just opening their doors, they had inadvertently enabled a marketplace expansion.
“What we didn’t see coming was the amount of people interested in developing a new brand based on our existence,” said David Woronets.
In his own conservative estimate, Woronets believes his fledgling operation could generate $5 million in revenue within three years. And if production volumes rise as he now hopes, his workforce of nine could soon double.
But he had a vastly different vision for Zen a year ago, with slightly lower expectations.
Woronets is a former professional road and track racer with more than 20 years in the bike-making industry, including stints at large brands such as Irvine, Calif.-based Felt Bicycles.
He came to the Pacific Northwest in 2007 when he took the job as operations manager for Ramona, Calif.-based Ellsworth Handcrafted Bicycles Inc., which ran a manufacturing plant in Vancouver, Wash.
|Take a peak behind the scenes at Zen >>|
During his time at Ellsworth, the company got a steady stream of inquiries to build bikes for other brands. But Ellsworth, David Woronets said, wasn’t set up to be a contract manufacturer.
Seeing a business opportunity, he reached a deal with Ellsworth CEO Tony Ellsworth to buy out the manufacturing business and open up his own shop in Portland.
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