Landry’s Bicycles has a couple hundred reasons to celebrate in 2022. First off, the company has served cyclists since 1922, so we’re talking about a 100-year anniversary. That’s big. Next, Landry’s full transition to an Employee Stock Ownership Plan, in the works since 2010, was completed this year, making the company 100% employee owned.
In addition, the eight-store business (you’re probably most familiar with the Natick location, route 9 eastbound) opened its newest store in Charlestown in January. So make that a couple-hundred-plus-one reasons to celebrate. Oh, and there’s also the late-2021 opening of the Cochituate Rail Trail, a project that Landry’s sponsors though maintenance of the four-mile shared-use path that connects Natick’s downtown with the Natick Mall area, crossing routes 9 and 30 to connect to Saxonville Village in Framingham. Landry’s helps finance rail trail needs such as mowing, signage, surface repairs, and general upkeep. So tack on yet another reason to celebrate.
It wasn’t so long ago that the pandemic seem determined to put a damper on the fun. Landry’s general manager Mark Gray in a phone interview said, “When COVID hit in 2020, the pandemic caused us to shut our front doors to keep people safe. But customers needed their bikes for their sanity. It was hard to conduct business.”
Citing a culture that encourages new ways of thinking, Gray told the story of how a new hire during on-boarding suggested implementing a workflow technology tool that would allow employees across the entire company the ability to better manage the challenges of operating while the doors were closed to both customers and staff. “We took this idea from a brand-new hire. The original owners built into the culture a sense of belonging and your ideas count. We still do that today.”
Out of the 150-250 total employees (the number fluctuates depending on the season), there are roughly 70-90 employee owners in the organization. To be an employee owner, you must work 1,000 hours per year and be 21 years of age or older. Gray boasts that Landry’s has at least 10 employees with 20+ year’s experience at the bike shop, and many who have been there 30+ years. Gray started when he was 17.
Landry’s is looking for help, so if this all sounds good to you…
Back to giving as usual
As more organizations resume their events after two years of COVID cancellations, Landry’s has been getting back to their bike advocacy work of supporting 40-50 charitable events per year. They are a lead sponsor for this year’s August 6 and 7 Pan-Mass Challenge, an annual fundraising ride which in 2021 provided $64 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The success of the charitable event is in part attributed to its welcome to cyclists of varied abilities. Participants can choose from 16 different route combinations from a one-day 25-mile route to a 211-mile, two-day trek. Last year over 40 Natick residents were among the 6,000-plus cyclists taking part in the Pan-Mass Challenge. And last month on Father’s Day, Landry’s helped sponsor the 6-mile Tour de Natick, an annual Natick Rotary Club-organized event which raises nearly $10,000 to fund college scholarships for Natick High students.
As far as company expansion goes, Gray says it’s always a possibility. “You never know what employee owners are going to decide is a good idea for the company, I would never rule it out.”
Landry’s Bicycles sells kids’ bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, road bikes, and electric assist bikes, all kinds of fun and safety-minded accessories, and lots of that super-bright spandex gear you see riders wearing as they zip along East and West Central Streets. They also have a full-service repair shop. Bike prices range from $300 on up. You could drop $12K-$13K on a bike if you were a super-serious rider, but there are plenty of options that are under a tenth of that kind of cash outlay.