Owens Bootleg Cycle

  • By Chelsea Mills
  • 30 Jan, 2015
Bob Owens is one of the best kept secrets in Genesee County for Harley Davidson history, motorcycle repair skills, selection of parts, Champion Trike Kit upgrades, and the rebuilding of bikes from the ground up. There are only a couple of things which Owens does not do in his shop, and that is chrome and paint. Owens enthusiasm for his business is evident, not only in what he says, but in how he says it. His passion for his work is evident as he explains how loyal his clients are and how some of them have been with him for over 25 years.

“We try to use local or [American-made] parts when available, but sometimes they just don’t exist,” Owens explains. At any given time, Owens Bootleg Cycle has about 10-30 bikes in waiting to be fixed by his staff of three: Paul, Vickie and Owens, himself. His love for motorcycles began when he was quite young, watching his father, Bill Owens, who raced Harley Davidson sprint bikes. Here he is pictured at age two and a half on top of his father’s Zundapp Motorcycle. Then later, when he was nine, Owens followed in his father’s footsteps and started racing his own bikes in competitions.

After graduation from high school, Owens worked for Mobil, delivering supplies to local area gas stations. Later, he hired into Buick where worked for 12 years on the assembly line. When he was laid off from that job, Owens wasn’t sure what he was going to do, but eventually, through some racing connections of his father’s, he applied for and got a job with Dennis Atherton at ABC Harley Davidson in Waterford. “That’s when I realized what I really wanted to do. I couldn’t believe I could actually get paid for doing something I loved!” Owens exclaims. “I was able to ride and fix motorcycles all day long for seven years, and life was good.”

In 1993, Owens moved back to Burton, returning to work on the assembly line at Buick, but this time, he only lasted eight months because he was miserable. He missed working on bikes. So Owens called his old boss, Dennis Atherton, who referred him to Bert Cummings at Cummings Harley, and he was able to get back into the industry he loved so much. This is where Owens really honed in on his skills and learned even more about customer service and the bike repair business.

Then on January 5, 2005, right in the middle of the worst economy Flint has seen in years, Owens Bootleg Cycle was born. “People thought I was crazy, but I knew it had to be done,” he says. Owens operated out of a warehouse, which he rented for several years -- until the building next door became available - which he then purchased in 2009. Right after he moved into his new building, he retired from racing his bike after 38 years. However, he still enjoys going to the races each year. At one particular Grand National Flat Track race in 2009, Owens invited a photographer who was there on behalf of a Japanese racing magazine to come over to see his place, and the man was so impressed, he published an article about Bob Owens and Owens Bootleg Cycle later that same year. Today Bob Owens is known for his uncanny skills in detecting what is wrong with his clients’ motorcycles. Even after clients move away, they still ship their bikes in a crate to Bob Owens when their motorcycles need repairs. He has many clients in Las Vegas, Florida and even Canada, to name a few. Many of the bikes his clients own have only had Bob Owens work on them. Owens Bootleg Cycle is also a sponsor of Bikes on the Bricks, which is held every year in September in Downtown Flint.

Owens also specializes in converting existing motorcycles into Trikes for his clients. One client, in particular, was suffering from mobility issues and thought they signaled the end of his riding career. His doctors had told him that pretty soon he would not be able to ride at all. He was having trouble shifting gears with his leg, and his balance was not good, so it was not safe for him to be on the bike. “As [this client] was telling me the story about how sad he was to give up what he loved [so much], it got me thinking about what I could do to modify his bike. You see, these Trike Kits are pretty cool; they allow people to keep riding longer because [the riders] don’t have to balance on two wheels anymore. Plus, I knew I could add an electronic shifter so [the man] could change gears with his hand on the handlebar instead of with his leg,” Owens explains. As anyone can imagine, this was the answer to a prayer for his client, and word about the Trike Kits traveled fast.

Today Owens Bootleg Cycle is the local distributor for Champion Trike Kits.


Around The Town with Chelsea

By chelseajaie 20 Oct, 2017
Did you know………Every year, 2 million American workers report having been victims of workplace violence. ( http://www.nsc.org/Measure/Pages/Workplace-Violence.aspx )
From 2000 through the first half of 2016, more than 600 people were killed in 213 active shooter events identified by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Unfortunately, this hits even closer to home. In 2016 two young women were fatally shot while at work in Genesee County. This seminar has been in the making since that terrible tragedy last year, unfortunately in the wake of the Las Vegas tragedy, this topic is all too relevant today.  
On Thursday, October 26, 2017, Behind Your Design will be hosting a seminar on Workplace Violence Safety. Please see the attached link and flyer to sign up. RSVP is necessary as seating is limited.
By chelseajaie 03 Oct, 2017

A t Bella Vita, exceeding the expectations of the residents is simply the beginning. Having a quality life in our later years is the least we all should expect. Bella Vita is committed to providing an environment that allows one to feel independent, with the assistance of its highly trained care group.  

By chelseajaie 02 Oct, 2017

Today family businesses have a competitive edge that could hardly be anticipated. As millennials continue to take up over one third of the workforce, many of these individuals are looking for more out of a career than a paycheck. In this new arena, family businesses have an edge in building a sustainable footprint because of the personal connection between the family and the community they serve. 

A textbook example of this is Peabody Insurance Agency, a company with a history of serving the community since 1919. In the last year Peabody Insurance has grown the team to include two new family hires, Grace and Brandon, and has completely remodeled its office.

“In order to thrive in today’s competitive environment, I believe it’s important for businesses to give the next generation a voice in how we should work and serve our customers,” explains Jim Peabody, partner of Peabody Insurance in Fenton. “Our team has developed a culture of collaboration, where insurance knowledge is fused with new ideas, processes and tools.”

Peabody Insurance is now one of the most capable independent agencies in the state, with the development of an interactive safety app, DocuSign, virtual meetings and a client portal. “Many of our features have the goal of saving our clients time and money. Customers have the ability to choose how they want to do business with us,” Jo Schofield, account executive, explains, “and our customers enjoy supporting local businesses because they know those dollars are going right back into their hometown.” 

By chelseajaie 29 Sep, 2017
Written by: Andrea Kehoe
By chelseajaie 23 Aug, 2017
Behind Your Design recently had the pleasure of designing a new responsive website for Image Flow Media. Image Flow is a full service commercial production company serving the metro Detroit Area. They are constantly pushing themselves, their equipment and their approach to the edge. Image Flow is a solutions-oriented team with a proven ability to get things done while managing multiple projects. They're experienced, passionate, motion graphics artists and video editors, looking to continue expanding their knowledge in all areas of production. 

 To see example of their work please click here  . Contact us at   Behind Your Design   to help you design your next website.

By chelseajaie 09 Aug, 2017

Starting a new business? Looking to give your current logo a 'refresh'? It can be easy to just think  'I need a logo!'  - what you are saying is that you want a graphic representation of your business to use on your marketing materials. What you  need however is a memorable overall ' brand' that will attract customers to your business. Luckily, at Behind Your Design, we can help you with all your needs, even the ones you don't know yet.

How do I create a brand? 

It's important to know your brand values and aspirations. Basically, your WHY? What made you start your business in the first place? What problem are you solving and what are your passions? Long term, where do you want to be in 2, 5, 10 years? The answers to those questions are the core of your brand. We want to give you the tools you need to reach your greatest potential.

Next, we'll work on the personality of your brand. What will your brand look like? Sound, feel, act like? Knowing your business' personality allows it to shine through everything we do. It also helps narrow down your target customer and decide how your business will interact with them. Appealing to a certain audience makes marketing efforts meaningful and effective.

Consistency is key. We work together to create an entire brand concept and easy guidelines to follow. Colors, fonts, patterns... Anything to make your look consistent will be part of your brand. Then, we use those elements across all platforms (website, social media, business cards, etc) to ensure your voice, mission and design flow fluidly and works together.

Once you've created this brand, it's time to go beyond that and uphold the reputation. Your customers have to truly believe in your brand, just like you do, and will, in turn, become loyal advocates of your business. Not only will they stay local to you but they'll also recommend you to others.

Your business is so much more than just a logo. We believe building a solid brand can become a company's greatest asset, so we cover every step:

  • Web Design
  • Graphic Design
  • Email Marketing
  • Facebook Marketing
  • Mobile App Design
  • Trade Show Booth Design
  • Custom Photo Gifts
  • Speaking Engagements
To view our design portfolio, click here.

By chelseajaie 25 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design is excited to announce the launch of JDLab's new responsive website and logo design. JDLab is a family owned business dedicated to delivering high quality work in every department. Founder J.D. Hicks’ goals in 1950 remain their goals today:  "Provide every professional photographer with the highest standard of quality and service, and to work as partners to help studios grow as successful businesses."   To learn more about what JDLab can do for you please click   here . Contact us at   Behind Your Design   to help you design your next website.
By chelseajaie 18 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design is excited to announce that we have created a new logo for Wayne Contracting Services, LLC. Wayne Contracting Services, LLC is a licensed and insured construction company providing a variety of construction and remodeling services to SE Michigan. Give them a call for all your contracting and remodeling needs! If you are in need of a new logo contact us at  Behind Your Design   today to get started!

By Chelsea Mills 18 Jul, 2017
Join the growing team at Behind Your Design at 100 S. Adelaide St. in Fenton, Michigan!

- 40 Hours A Week (Mon-Fri - 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM with working lunch)
- Paid Holidays
- Opportunity for 401k Retirement Matching
- Must be able to multi-task, delegate and prioritize jobs that come in
- Must be able to track time spent on projects
- Responsible for ordering from vendors
- Responsible for managing multiple tasks and keeping jobs moving forward by following up with clients and our designers
- Friendly pleasant personality
- Responsible to answer phones, greet customers, take messages and packages
- Team environment
- Time Management and Organizational Skills
- Matching expenses/orders with client billing
- Approximately 25% of the job will be coordinating photo booth jobs including contracts, graphics, staff, programming booths, posting photos, burning DVD’s and communicating with clients.

Technical skills needed, but not required to apply, we would train qualified applicants:
- HTML Email Blasts (Constant Contact, MailChimp)
- Website Building
- Basic Photoshop Skills
- Professional Email Skills
- Word, Excel
- Asana Task Management System
- Social Media Posting
- QuickBooks

Click Here to Apply

By Chelsea Mills 11 Jul, 2017
Behind Your Design recently had the pleasure of designing a new website for Bennett Communication Solutions. Bennett Communication Solutions is a local family company that opened its doors in 1945. They provide telephone answering services, remote receptionist services, voice mail, and other services to meet the needs of their business customers. While they maybe local they have clients nationwide. Their clientele includes health care services, property management and real estate, contractors and of course business professions. To learn more about their services please click here . Contact us at  Behind Your Design  to help you design your next website.
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