Adam Jones, owner of The Brick Running and Tri StoreRunner and cyclist Adam Jones launched The Brick Running and Tri Store in Danville’s River District out of necessity.

“I was into running and cycling and found myself driving some distance in search of shoes and equipment,” he says. “Driving to Raleigh for shoes one day in 2008, I got stuck in traffic. The lightbulb went off and I said to myself, ‘I can’t be the only runner or cyclist in Danville who needs health and wellness equipment.’”

With that thought in mind, Adam started lining up options to open a business in what he saw as a winning location with its own burgeoning fitness culture: Danville’s River District.

“There was talk of a downtown revitalization, a new YMCA and a Riverwalk Trail expansion — downtown seemed like the place to be,” he adds. “We opened for business in 2010.”

Adam renovated the first floor of a two-story brick building in the River District that fit his business model and motto: “Where You Never Hit a Wall.”

“We specialize in shoes, apparel, equipment, and nutrition for walkers, runners, cyclists, and triathletes,” Adam notes. “Our name, ‘The Brick,’ refers to training on two disciplines during the same workout — just as stacking actual bricks build a solid structure.”

Adam Jones, owner of The Brick Running and Tri Store

Adam’s business structure received an added boost when he discovered the Longwood SBDC while participating in the River District Association Dream Launch Bootcamp several years ago. That program — an intensive six-week workshop that teaches participants business skills and helps them fine-tune their plans for a start-up — connected him with Longwood SBDC Regional Consultant Michael Duncan, who served as his Dream Launch business mentor. Additionally, Dream Launch participants who complete all six bootcamp classes may compete for cash and other incentives in a business pitch competition.

“Dream Launch covered a business plan, demographics, competition, and identifying customer needs,” Adam says. “I entered the pitch competition and was awarded $25,000.”

Adam used his winnings to expand his store, adding an upstairs wing that houses additional retail space for bike sales, gear and bike repair services. The upstairs area also includes a common community space for group gatherings.

Even after the completion of Dream Launch and the expansion of The Brick, however, Adam continues to consult with Michael and the SBDC on a regular basis.

“Having the SBDC as an asset is like having a gold nugget in my back pocket — it’s there if I need it,” Adam comments.

Adding the SBDC to his team, Adam reports, has been a winning strategy for The Brick.

“The SBDC is a valuable tool with tremendous free resources that a lot of people don’t know about — definitely an asset to the community and region,” Adam concludes. “When I open business number two or three, I’ll definitely visit the SBDC.”