Okanagan College students and alumni create online company

Entrepreneurial endeavour retails mountain bike parts across North America without extensive sales effort or bricks-and-mortar storefront.

  • Mar. 16, 2016 6:00 a.m.

Trevor Tuck.

Trevor Tuck, Dylan Decker, Colton Cheney and Shelby Miller may well be the picture of the next generation of entrepreneurs.

With persistence, help from family, friends and wherever they can get it, a thirst for education, well-managed expectations and an ability to adapt, the Okanagan College students and alumni are involved in creating an online company that caters to a niche market in the two-wheeled world.

Tuck is in the college’s Business Administration degree program. Decker and Cheney graduated in January from the same program, and Cheney is now a financial services representative with TD Canada Trust. Miller is in the college’s Civil Engineering Technology diploma program. They comprise TBS Bike Parts (tbsbikeparts.com), a company that retails mountain bike parts in North America, without extensive investment in sales people or bricks-and-mortar storefront.

“Our goal is to eliminate the middleman and save consumers between 30 and 40 per cent, even with shipping costs,” explained Tuck. The company’s short history starts in 2011, while the four partners were still in secondary school, as part of a Young Entrepreneurs program.

That program is organized by School District 23 in concert with the Central Okanagan Regional District’s Economic Development Commission and Enactus Okanagan College, a student-run organization celebrating 10 years of social entrepreneurship activities in the region.

The four were in a Grade 12 Entrepreneurship class when they came up with the idea of a company selling “tramp bikes” – bicycles that are used on trampolines for tricks. They built two prototypes, painted them fluorescent colours, and wowed the judges with their business plan. The foursome, though, quickly realized the limited size of the market and tramp bikes morphed into TBS Bicycle Parts.

Today, they have a warehouse with boxes of parts, an online site capable of digital commerce, a contract with Canada Post for shipping, and an abundance of enthusiasm and drive. Each day they collate their online orders, pack the requisite parts, label them and then truck them to Canada Post.

Tuck says his business education at the college has been supplemented by the sage advice and guidance of strong mentors who have helped him and his partners.

Tuck balances his dedication to the business with his studies at OC, and acknowledges that the business is benefitting from what he learns. “I found a lot of what I’ve been learning here applies to the business and, similarly, I’ve found that what I’m learning in business is helping me appreciate and better understand what I’m being taught.”

One of the classes he highlights as particularly advantageous is a course in internet marketing, taught by OC professor Robert Wright. “I’ve asked for and had some feedback from Robert on our site and approach. It’s been valuable.”

Tuck hasn’t always been an Okanagan College student. After graduating from OKM, he left for the University of Victoria, but returned in the fall of 2014 to the Okanagan when business for TBS started to pick up. It’s a move he is glad he made.

“I can’t say enough about the quality of the education here,” he noted. “Class sizes are smaller and you get to know your profs, and there’s a lot of very interesting group work that’s associated with the degree program. At UVic I had classes of 200 or 300 people – here there are 20 or 30 students. And I’m interested in business. At OC, you can jump right into business classes – at UVic, it was a matter of two years of other programs before you even found out if you were going to be admitted to business.”

Just Posted

Country Music hopes to raise funds for Grand Forks families

The event will take place at OK Corral in Kelowna

Vernon second-degree murder suspect found not criminally responsible

Angelo Gabriel Monfort’s matter will be put to the British Columbia Review Board

Preliminary inquiry being held for West Kelowna man charged in wife’s murder

Man charged in the killing of his wife is in court this week for a preliminary inquiry.

Kelowna a top Canadian city when it comes to moves

U-Haul ranks city 19th on its list of top 20 spots for DIY movers

SunRype puts stamp on Okanagan Marathon

The Kelowna-based company takes over title sponsorship of the annual October run and festival

REPLAY: B.C. this week in video

In case you missed it, here’s a look at replay-worthy highlights from across the province this week

Reena Virk’s mother has died

Both of Virk’s parents became activists against bullying in wake of daughters’ death

Over 800 cars hit the streets in Penticton for Beach Cruise

Largest Peach City Beach Cruise event to-date to take place in Penticton

B.C. announces $75M to help friends, family care for seniors at home

Funding will go towards respite care and adult day programs

Timely tide attracts another pod of orcas to Victoria

The pod left the harbour about 30 minutes later

Rockets add forward in deal with ‘Tips

Kelowna acquires 16-year-old Mark Liwiski from Everett in exchange for a draft pick

Canada won’t ‘play politics’ on U.S. migrant children policy

The U.S. government is under fire over its ”zero tolerance” policy

Capitals coach resigns after Stanley Cup win

Barry Trotz announced his resignation on Monday

B.C. pledges $550 million for Indigenous housing

Premier John Horgan says province moving into on-reserve projects

Most Read