Blazing Saddles: Small Business Person of the Year 2017
SF Bay Area, CA, April 25 2017 – TMC congratulates Jeff and Helena Sears, owners of Blazing Saddles in San Francisco, CA, on their Small Business Person of the Year award win!
Before Jeff and Helena Sears founded Blazing Saddles, the largest bicycle rental company in California, they introduced bicycle tourism to the Bay Area as pedicab drivers in Fisherman’s Wharf. Previously, bicycle tourism did not exist in California, as bike riding was an activity that mostly children partook in. The Sears had a very clear vision, which they courageously pursued.
In 1987, the couple bought 100 bikes and opened a storefront for a bicycle rental company. Their mission was to create and share the unforgettable experience of biking the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco and, later, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York with locals and tourists from across the world.
Blazing Saddles has had a tremendous impact on the tourism industry as well as the local community. The company started off with two employees (Jeff and Helena) and has since grown to a workforce of nearly 200! Jeff has reported that up to 10,000 people on a sunny summer day ride from Fisherman’s Wharf across the Golden Gate bridge to Sausalito, a 90-minute trip for the average rider. To cater to these visitors, Blazing Saddles has 11 rental locations in San Francisco and New York City, with a fleet of over 2,000 bikes. They offer guided and self-guided tours of hotspots like Central Park and the Golden Gate Park.
The tourism industry is a vital part of the San Francisco and New York City economies. Jeff and Helena have carved out a niche by providing an eco-friendly activity that encourages fitness. It is truly an activity for all ages. “We’ve had kids as young as five, and people in their 90s renting our bikes. Everybody has a great time,” Jeff says. Thanks to their hard work and dedication, locals and tourists from all walks of life are able to enjoy some of the greatest views and iconic landmarks in each city outside the confines of a vehicle.
“I am so impressed by the story and success of Blazing Saddles. Jeff and Helena have created an iconic business that combines fitness and tourism, making the sights of San Francisco accessible to everyone. When the whole TMC team visited Blazing Saddles and met Jeff and Helena last year, we learned about their business, its past and future. It was so rewarding to see one of our clients in action and understand the impact an SBA 504 loan can make in the growth and success of small business,” said Barbara Morrison, CEO & President of TMC Financing
In October 2013, Blazing Saddles purchased a building at 721 Beach Street in San Francisco. The 10,840 SF building was purchased with an SBA 504 loan from TMC Financing. TMC provided $2.4 million of the project’s $6.06 million total cost.
Blazing Saddles will be recognized for their Small Business Person of the Year Award the first week of May during San Francisco’s Small Business Week. The applicants are judged based on the history of the company, their business plans, analysis of growth, and how they have overcome adversity. The award committee visited Blazing Saddles and said that “they are an exceptional business and represent what we look for in an awardee.” They will be honored and celebrated at the Small Business Week Award ceremony on Thursday May 10th at AT&T Park.
Click here to view all the winners across the United States.
About TMC Financing
TMC Financing is a Certified Development Company (CDC) that has helped over 5,000 small businesses in California and Nevada get financing through the SBA 504 program. The Small Business Administration 504 loan program allows small business owners to finance commercial real estate and other fixed assets with long-term, below-market, fixed interest rates. The motto of TMC Financing is “if you own the business, you should own the building.”
Click here to learn more about TMC.