If your bike’s broken, take it to a bike shop. If you don’t have time to take it to a bike shop, call Ray Martell.
Martell has an unconventional way of providing bicycle repairs to the city of Ypsilanti. Instead of dropping your bicycle off with him and picking it up later, Martell will bring his services to you. He provides standard repair services when he comes to where your bike is located and fixes it on the spot.
“I’m just doing what I know,” Martell said. “[The] great thing about Ypsilanti is that people like people in this town with unique ideas.”
Martell says he has always had a fascination and passion for bicycles. He went forward with his passion and started up his business, Depot Town Bike, in July 2013.
“I had an idea,” Martell said. “I wanted to do a mobile bike shop. I had limited capital. I had the drive, some tools, bought parts as I went, and did simple advertising.”
Martell set up shop this past summer at local events, marketing his brand to the Ypsilanti community. Depot Town Bike was present at DIYpsi Indie Art Festival, the Ypsilanti farmers market on Saturdays and Ypsilanti’s Heritage Festival.
“[The] main reason I go to these events is to get exposure,” Martell said. “I actively handed out cards, fixed some bikes and engaged a lot with the public. I basically told them what Depot Town Bike is all about.”
Martell says that strategy worked out very well for him. He worked every Saturday at the Ypsilanti farmers market and would get clients from weeks past bringing their bikes to his tent for small repairs or talking to Martell about future at-home service jobs.
Jessica Lofton-Williams, an Eastern Michigan University undergraduate student and resident of Ypsilanti, said she knows of Depot Town Bike from the Ypsilanti farmers market in Depot Town on Saturdays.
“He has given me estimates on repairs and information on bikes in general,” Lofton-Williams said. “He’s a really knowledgeable guy and I would definitely consult him before buying a new bike.”
Martell does his repairs with a certain standard service. He said while doing a bike repair, he informs his customers of what he did, how he did it and why he needed to do it that way.
“I’ve been a bike mechanic for over a decade now,” Martell said. “I worked at a couple of shops like Jack’s Bicycle and Two Wheel Tango with a lot of different bikes, problems and customers. I know what an A-1 bike shop is supposed to be about from the sense of mechanical stuff and in the business sense.”
Martell claims to have made his business known through the help of Spark East Business Incubator and self-motivation. He also claims to put food on the table from his job at Bigalora as a server, and puts all his profits from his bike services back into Depot Town Bike’s working capital.
“I don’t think about it as work, rather as something I want to do and it is something I have fun doing,” Martell said.
For more information about Depot Town Bike, you can call Martell at (734) 474-5311 or at the Depot Town Bike Facebook page.