Terrell Hoffman is president of Cycle World located at Village Green Shopping Center.
NAME: Terrell Hoffman
POSITION: President, Cycle World, Village Green Shopping Center
FAMILY: Divorced, no children
EDUCATION: Darton College, Valdosta State University
Terrell Hoffman, president of Cycle World at Village Green Shopping Center, is crazy over video gaming and hanging out at the beach, he says. And don’t forget the bikes.
Hoffman, 25, was drafted into the business following the death of his grandfather, Jim Laue, who founded Cycle World as a motorcycle repair shop in 1976.
Laue transitioned the business toward the sale and repair of bicycles around the time of Hoffman’s birth.
Today the company is run entirely by Hoffman, who does “everything that doesn’t involve money,” his mother, Carrie Hoffman, who serves as CFO, and his father, Terry Hoffman.
This week Terrell Hoffman took some time to speak with Herald reporter Jim West.
Q. What was your first job?
A. Working in Century Pecan Grove. They’d planted about 200 new pecan trees and my job was to dig two ditches for each and run drip lines for each. It took me a good six months to do. It was pretty much straight manual labor. I was 16 at the time.
Q. What was the first thing you spent money on when you received your first ever paycheck?
A. I bought a brand new TV. I had an older TV I was using when I was playing my video games and the newer TV had the flat screen and not the tube type. It was about 200 bucks.
Q. What’s the single most effective technique you found over the past two years for keeping employees motivated?
A. With (the business) being family run, it’s myself, my mom and my dad running the shop. It’s my grandfather’s memory that keeps us motivated to keep going, to keep the shop still in business and help people like we should be helping them.
Q. What led you to your current position? Why did you want to operate your own business?
A. I grew up in the business. My grandfather passed away two years ago and my uncle took over. In January, 2011, I was asked to come in and work at the shop. Without hesitation I came in, no problem. Once that happened I’ve been here ever since and enjoyed every day of it.
Q. Is your grandfather your role model? Do you have others?
A. Most definitely. He’s the biggest role model outside of the shop, as far as life’s lessons. He’s definitely the biggest reason I came into the shop.
Q. What is the biggest lesson you as a business leader learned from the recent recession?
A. Actually, the recession hasn’t affected us too bad. The reason for that, I guess, is the gas prices. With gas being so high, people have come more and more either to buy bikes or they’re pulling their bikes out of the sheds and getting them fixed up. It saves a lot of gas. The biggest thing has been repairs. It keeps the lights on in the shop.
Q. If you could turn the clock back on one aspect of technology – examples e-mail, automated phone systems, cell phones, PDAs, etc. – what would you most like to see go away?
A. Actually, I don’t think I’d like to see anything go away, since I was born in the technology era and I’ve been able to see the advances in technology. I’m very excited to see what else comes around. It’s nice if I’m not at the shop or if I’m on vacation and I get a call I can pull it up on my phone and see where it is or what I can order.
Q. What is your favorite work-related gadget?
A. Very small, very simple, but it would be my Park Tool screwdriver. For some reason that’s the only one I’ll use. I won’t use anybody else’s.
Q. What is your favorite tradition?
A. Anything to do with family. I’m real big with family gatherings. Thanksgiving, Christmas — any time the family gets together. Those are my favorite traditions.
Q. What was the last book you read? Do you have things you read daily or regularly?
A. Outside of the cycle magazines I don’t really read a lot of books. The last book I read was “1776” by David McCullough. Other than that, all I really keep up with is the new stuff with cycling.
Q. I’m up and going by? And what is your morning routine?
A. Typically I’m up and going by 7:30 a.m. I get a shower, eat breakfast and get here around 8:45 to get the shop open by 9:00.
Q. What famous person would you like to meet, and Why?
A. If I had the chance it would probably be Frank Sinatra. I really enjoyed his music growing up and kind of learned different things as far as morals and how to treat people. He has had a big influence outside of family. I was born in the wrong era to meet him.
Q. Favorite hobbies or activity outside work?
A. I’m a big gamer. I have a big group of about six guys I play with online. They’re probably six of the best friends I’ve got. As weird as it sounds, we call each other, we know each other families. The only bad thing is they all live way out of Georgia — Minnesota, Nevada, places like that.
Q. Best thing about your job?
A. The best thing for me is keeping the shop going, because my grandfather established it. This was his thing, his gift to Albany as far as an actual cycle shop and I want to keep it around as long as I possible can. Day to day, I enjoy seeing the different kinds of bicycles that come into the shop. Repairs, especially. You get stories about what they say happened to the bikes and you know that’s not what actually happened. It’s fun to see the different things that come through.
Q. Worst thing about your job?
A. That would have to be the Saturdays. I don’t get to watch the football games. Saturdays here are an all-day thing. By the time I get done and get home I don’t really want to do anything else.
Q. The most beneficial course I took in school was?
A. I graduated from Darton with an associate (degree) in Education so that kind of helps out a lot as far as talking with people and being able to communicate.
Q. What would be your dream job if you were able to pick a position outside your current career path?
A. Anything on the beach. I’ve actually got one of my regulars I joke with about 15 years from now we’ll open up a different kind of shop. It would be bicycles but would have running and swimming - kind of like a triathlon. Right on the beach front, and we would never be open because both of us would always be on the beach. Anything associated with the beach is my dream job.
Q. Finish this thought; “on the first anniversary of my retirement, I see myself…
A. On the beach with a big Margarita in my hand.
Q. What is the one trait a strong business leader cannot afford to be without?
A. Courtesy. The biggest thing we always do is greet them and ask them how we can help them. Knowledge can always be gained through experience but if you don’t have the courtesy and politeness, especially for retail, they may not come back again.
Q. Crystal ball time: What’s your call on when the economic recovery for our area will be in full swing?
A. You can look around and see we’ve got businesses coming up. Olive Garden just came into town and Buffalo Wild Wings will help the economy in this area. It’s hard to judge when an actual kick start will happen, though.
Q. What kind of music might I find on your list of most played on your iPod?
A. Everything. I talk to a lot of people and that’s what I ask them. They say everything. Everything for them is rock, country, rock/rap. Mine is Sinatra, Beethoven, Mozart, rock and roll, hard rock. I’ve even got rap and R&B stuff.
Q. What do you think is the biggest change Albany will see in the next 10 years?
A. I hope to see it change as far as growth happens. You can look around and see the growth. I’d like to see changes as far as the cycling area goes. We’ve got a lot of change coming as far as bike lanes coming in. The biggest change I’d like to see as far as that is cycling knowledge for motorists on the roads. Cyclists have every right that motorists do. I do see cyclists riding the wrong way on the road. They should be going with the traffic. The biggest thing I want to see is cyclist/motorist friendliness coming around.
Q. What are the biggest changes you have seen in your specific line of business over the past few years?
A. They’re starting to incorporate different sides of riding into different areas. (For example) they’re starting to put disc brakes on road bikes. Disc brakes had been a part of mountain biking. They also have what they call cyclocross bikes — road bikes you can use like a mountain bike/trail bike. They’re now putting 11-speeds on bikes where you never thought that would happen. Every year there’s something that comes out new in cycling.