Award finalist sees Anderson in midst of sunrise
By Dirk Webb
Photo courtesy of Dale Pickett
Ben Orcutt, Owner
517 W. 11th St.
Anderson , IN 46016
(765) 393-1409 (work)
Buckskin Bikes started as a non-profit, with owner Ben Orcutt, working for education, advocacy and a bicycle friendly atmosphere here in Anderson. He spent hours repairing bicycles, striking up conversations, teaching riders how to repair their own bikes and simply providing a gathering place for west siders. In June 2012, Buckskin moved into the for-profit sector and added Jackrabbit Coffee to the shop in the spring of 2015. “Because bike traffic is slow in the winter, coffee creates conversation and conversation creates interaction that helps create social change.”
Orcutt serves as a member of the Anderson Redevelopment Commission and joined the Madison County Chamber Board in January of 2016.
According to Merriam-Webster the word, optimism, is defined as a feeling or belief that good things will happen.
Would you consider Madison County to be in the midst of sunrise? What does the business sunrise across the horizon look like to you?
“I definitely do. As a small business owner and member of ARC I see business at both a macro and micro level so it’s very interesting to be part of both worlds. On the big scale, we are bringing in new industry and new jobs. I’ve been here ten years but only for the past few have I seen the positive growth. For small business, the micro level, I just heard from a web developer who was getting “beat up” with the expenses. He has now set up shop here in Anderson. A lot is happening under the radar that people don’t see. I’m also involved in AU’s IdeAU program to encourage entrepreneurship and is targeted at ‘brain drain.’ I’m very excited to be a part and encourage more people to take the leap into business ownership. It can be scary but the upsides economically and culturally are significant. I love being a resource for others considering their own dream.”
What does "A New Day" mean to you?
“By definition a new day comes after a night. Some are bogged down by the past and A New Day also presupposes that what happened before wasn’t ideal. It means we choose to start fresh.”
Helen Keller said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” How has your optimism helped you guide your company’s vision?
“I don’t think about being optimistic at all. However, I have a pretty clear vision of the world in which I want to live. Therefore, making steps toward that are pretty simple in my mind. I understand I want a good cup of coffee in the morning so I’ve made that possible for myself. I have a desire to see the world better than it currently is. I believe that is possible and have chosen to work toward that end. While I want my business to grow financially to provide more jobs what really drives me is the vision for the community that I want to live in.”
Is your optimism ever threatened?
“Certainly. The winter is a dark time in the bicycle industry. Every February is a rough time financially. I also know there are still businesses closing in Anderson or not excelling and it can be very disheartening to see that.”
If optimism leads to achievement, what is it you hope your company will achieve in 2016?
“Simply do what we do, only better. I’m not looking to expand and open 100 stores, I just want to continue to offer quality service and products and engage with my customers. I want to help someone else start a business. Obviously I want sales to increase but this year I’m focusing on digging deeper roots.”
If you were to have five minutes with someone who was considering relocating to Madison County what would you tell them?
“They should do it, right now. The cost of living and cost of running a business are low. Madison County is growing so you’re getting in on the upswing. I have felt very supported by the city and by the chamber and I can imagine that would be extended to any newcomer. You may not experience that elsewhere. I understand the value of density. If someone opens a business next door to me, it helps me. We have space, opportunity and a great chance for someone to come in and fill a need with their business.”
Buckskin Bikes is one of three finalists being considered for the 2015 Emerging Business of the Year award. Thanks in part to St. Vincent Anderson Regional Hospital, the winner will be announced on February 25 at the 2016 Annual Awards Gala.
To view past award winners, or to read more about the awards, visit MCC's Wall of Fame.