Tag Archives: Buy American

What’s Happening at Rhoades Car


We’ve been really busy. Here are some important messages from us you may have missed!

Rhoades Car Looking to Expand its Exclusive Dealer Network

Looking for a way to earn additional income, set your own schedule and have some fun? Rhoades Car, a certified Made-in-the-USA manufacturer of 4-wheel quadracycles, is looking to expand its dealer network and the great news is that you do … Continue reading →

When Customer Service Really Means Going the Extra Mile(s)

Every company is faced with challenges every now and then. But what do you do when you have a shipment sitting on a truck in Michigan and the trucking company does not have a small delivery truck to deliver to a remote area? Continue reading →

The Rhoades SOLARped Series – 100% Powered by the Sun

HENDERSONVILLE, TN — Rhoades Car International, the nation’s leading 4-wheel bicycle manufacturer, recently announced the release of a new model series – the Rhoades SOLARped – 100% powered by the sun. “This is really exciting because we’ve … Continue reading →

Therapeutic Exercise for People with Joint Replacements

Couple with multiple joint replacements said if it weren’t for their Rhoades Car, they would get very little exercise. Continue reading →

Economic Forecast Right for Rhoades Car

Rhoades Car as a healthy alternative to a golf cart is set to play a much larger role in transportation as the trend for more frugal urban living increases with Americans wanting to live closer to workplaces, shopping, schools, and other community gathering places. Continue reading →

When Customer Service Really Means Going the Extra Mile(s)


Every company is faced with challenges every now and then. But what do you do when you have a shipment sitting on a truck in Michigan and the trucking company does not have a small delivery truck to deliver to a remote area? In this case, Rhoades Car Director of Operations, Lisa Cunningham, and her husband, Russell, drove 600 miles each way to pick it up from the trucking company and deliver it to the customer – on a weekend! That’s dedication. We appreciate our customer (Susan) for being so patient while we figured out a solution. AND, we really appreciate Lisa our employee and her husband for going the extra mile (literally!) to deliver the customer service that we at Rhoades Car are so proud of.

The little book 212⁰ Service: The 10 Rules for Creating a Service Culture, quotes Jan Carlzon, a former CEO of Scandinavian Airlines, as saying:

“…it doesn’t really matter how your customers feel about you and your business. What makes a difference is how your products make them feel about themselves and their decisions.”

Obviously Customer Susan feels great about her buying decision in this note we received from her after the delivery: “This is why you buy from Rhoades Car…quality people who go above and beyond for you. This fantastic lady (Rhoades Employee) and her husband drove from TN to MI to deliver our bike to our door even though we have about 28″ total snow. Awesome quality service. Thank you Lisa and Russell.” Lisa and Russell Cunningham deliver a bike to Michigan

And yes, another great reason to BUY AMERICAN!

Economic Forecast Right for Rhoades Car


“Calmer waters lie ahead for the economy”, according to the 1/10/14 edition of The Kiplinger Letter.  Knight Kiplinger has been my favorite forecaster for over 30 years, mainly because he is usually right. GDP growth is up, he says, along with job gains and home buying.

We can all let out a deep breath after hearing that one. Even if he is only half right, life will improve for many.

Mr. Kiplinger doesn’t just stick to economic forecasts. He also thinks urban dwellers are steadily rising as people want to live closer to workplaces, shopping, schools, and other community gathering places. Some even want to give up car ownership. We are already seeing much of this as golf carts zoom through neighborhoods and out to a nearby grocery store. This makes sense as people aren’t likely to forget the economic downtown we’ve just lived through and look for more frugal ways to live.

Saving car maintenance is good, but we at Rhoades Car believe it isn’t enough. Daily exercise should be in there somewhere as the Centers for Disease Control repeatedly tells us that 2/3 of Americans are overweight and 1/3 obese. These high numbers mean increasing cases of hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, multiple joint replacements, and the like, which can lead to less quality time with our family due to health issues. Ultimately, health issues like these lead to shortened life spans, which cuts family time too short…something most of us don’t even want to think about.

So don’t go down that road. The Rhoades Car SOLARped can solve the problem by allowing its riders to pedal side-by-side in separate gears, engaging the solar-powered motor only when needed as a pedal-assist. Need to drop the kids off? No problem. Just add a back seat – bench or bucket – to your basket for holding the groceries. Add a weather cover in cooler climates. All this, and still made in the USA.

Are we looking at the car of the future?SOLARped P2

 

 

Rhoades Car Customer Not Worried About Soaring Gas Prices!


By Beth Baker

Director of Customer Relations, Rhoades Car International

David King of central Wyoming isn’t worried about $5 a gallon gas — because he’s been riding a Rhoades Car for the past 13 years!  A few days ago, we received this unsolicited email from David:

I just thought you might like to know that my single-seat Rhoades Car, which is 13 years old, is still rolling along the highways and byways of central Wyoming. And I, at the age of 72, am still happily pushing its pedals. Thank you for a helluva lotta enjoyment and good health over the years!”

We’re thrilled that David has had 13 years of Rhoades Car enjoyment and wish him many more.  Did you notice that he mentioned “enjoyment and health” in his email?  Not only is he saving money on gas by riding a Rhoades, but he is staying in shape and having a great time!

Funny thing about rising gas prices – as gas prices soar so do sales of Rhoades Cars.  So far in 2012, sales are up over 100%.  Why?  Because riding a Rhoades can be a solution for many people as an alternative means of transportation in order to save money on gas AND get much needed exercise. Add in our 1 hp electric-assist motor option and it becomes a hybrid (pedal power and electric motor combo). That is one of the major reasons we were named Tennessee Green Business Innovator of the Year in 2011.

According to a recent study from the Oil Price Information Service, fuel prices are up 13.6% from a year ago and 76% higher than in December 2008. A FoxNews.com article earlier this week stated, “Americans spent 8.4 percent of their household income on gasoline last year when gas averaged $3.51 a gallon — that’s double the percentage a decade ago.”  No way around it – we’re headed for a big spike in gas prices again in 2012.  It’s time to look for alternatives!

Although the majority of our sales are here in the USA, we have individuals, couples and families all over the world ordering our 4-wheel bikes and many of them are adding our electric-assist motor option.  With gasoline prices climbing dramatically, gas savings is important but family health and overall fitness weigh heavily in the decision too.  So riding a Rhoades is a true win-win-win!  You get gas savings, exercise AND family fun.  After all, we need more Leave it to Beaver and less Virtual Reality in our society.  This is a great way for families to recapture that special time together.

A few weeks ago, Rhoades Car was featured on the Emmy award-winning and #1 locally produced PBS show in the country – Tennessee Crossroads.  They did a great job of showing how we are a Certified Made-in-The-USA product so when you purchase a Rhoades Car, you are supporting American workers. Here’s a link to the 6 ½ minute segment –http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXN7Rv1Ly-c&feature=plcp&context=C33f14bfUDOEgsToPDskJxOGrtb3kGPRkGT3KHdg-M

So whether you are young or old, married or single, short or tall, overweight or skin and bones, have a small family or a large family, there’s a 1, 2 or 4 seat Rhoades Car 4-wheel bike just for you.  Just ask David King who is in his 13th year of riding his 1-person Rhoades Car!

For more information about Rhoades Car International, visit www.RhoadesCar.com, call 800-531-2737 or send an email to news@rhoadescar.com.


 

Electric Bike Popularity Growing


by Bill Pomakoy

President, Rhoades Car International

Electric Bicycle (aka “e-bike”) sales are growing dramatically worldwide.  As a matter of fact, at Rhoades Car in 2011, there was an electric-assist motor on approximately 20% of the 4-wheel quardacycles that left our Hendersonville, TN factory – up from just under 10% in 2010.  It shows that many people are not only looking for an alternate means of transportation – but many like an optional boost of power when needed without adding to the carbon footprint issue.

The 1/1/12 issue of Bicycling Retailer has a good article on electric bike sales that is really geared to retailers but the facts are the facts – whether you are a retailer or the end purchaser.  Although they don’t state it in the article, it is obvious that the results are based on e-bike sales in the US, not international sales. Some of the findings may surprise you:

  • Most purchasers of electric bikes are generally NOT cyclists and most have not ridden a bike in years
  • Most purchasers are couples and they typically buy two e-bikes (not always at the same time)
  • The average e-bike owner is 59+
  • More than half of e-bike sales are to women and they expect a wide range of colors to choose from
  • People who purchase e-bikes are very social and tell their friends about their purchase

For me, the most surprising statement in the article was this one —  “While buyers might justify their purchase with saving money on gas, getting exercise and being green, the real reason they buy an e-bike is plain and simple: FUN!”  Who can argue with that? We’re all looking for ways to have fun, right?  More on that later.

The bottom line seems to be that electric bike sales should continue to grow in the US and around the world.  In a 2010 published report, PikeResearch concluded that “The worldwide electric two-wheel vehicle market is expected to grow at a compound annual rate of 9% through 2016″.

To put things in perspective, according to the latest Electric Bikes Worldwide Report, US e-Bike sales were projected to hit 220,000 units in 2009, a two-year sales increase of 83 percent from 2007. In that same time period, 750,000 e-Bike sales were forecasted for Europe- up from 250,000 units in 2007.  But guess who leads the pack on e-bike production AND usage?  You guessed it – China.  The China Bicycle Association reported that China has 70 million electric bikes on the road and 1,400 electric bicycle manufacturers who produce around 5.5 million e-bike units a year.

The unfortunate part of the message once again – just like with regular bicycles – is that the vast majority of e-bikes are NOT produced in the USA.  If you read my June blog (http://alturl.com/nd567) , you know that I a firm believer that we need to get back to making products right here in the USA – just like we do at Rhoades Car. We’re the exception – and we need to be the rule!

Here’s how we do it at Rhoades Car:

  • All Rhoades Car major components, including proprietary steel frames, are made in Tennessee – not in China or Taiwan
  • Powder coating is applied in Madison, Tennessee
  • Seats are manufactured in Memphis, TN and soon in Augusta, GA
  • Mag wheels are manufactured in Redding, CA
  • Canopies are handmade by a small upholstery shop in Hendersonville, TN
  • Shipping crate material is purchased locally
  • Axles, steering columns, tirods and all proprietary machined parts are manufactured by various small companies – ALL located in the United States of America

I promised to get back to the “FUN” comment earlier in the blog.  It should come as no surprise that the most popular models at Rhoades Car are our 2-person side-by-side models (GoBoy, SportPed and Cycle Car Series all offer 2-person models.  SportPed and CycleCar Series both offer 4-person family models).  The reason IS the “FUN” factor just like the Bicycle Retailer article suggests.  Our 2-person quadracycles are so much more FUN than riding on separate bikes or even a tandem.  Why?  Because you can have conversation with your pedal-mate because you’re side-by-side AND you’re getting exercise.  How’s that for a win-win? Plus, you can add the electric-assist electric motor feature if you want a little help with those hills or you are just plum worn out 5 miles into the ride and want a little help getting home.

As I wrote back in the June blog, “It is possible to produce products that are truly made in the USA and every time we do it benefits American families.  We do it at Rhoades Car and there are many more companies out there just like us that need your support.  If we can all focus on buying American-made products, we can get the USA back to once again being the global leader. But it will take sacrifices to get there.

It’s a New Year and time to refocus on buying American-made products.   Come on now, you read the back of the food labels when you are looking to cut calories or check the sodium content so you can do it to look for American-made products.  So please, the next time you go to a store to purchase an item, read the label and buy the one that says – “Proudly Made in the USA”.

Happy New Year everyone! And be sure to visit us often at www.RhoadesCar.com.

Rhoades Car Featured in Nashville Ledger Article


You can’t buy great publicity – you have to earn it!  The article below featuring Rhoades Car appeared in today’s Nashville Ledger.  Our thanks to the Nashville Ledger and writer Hollie Deese for a great article!

Peddling an alternative to cars, two-wheelers

Nashville Ledger

Friday, August 12, 2011, Vol. 35, No. 32

By Hollie Deese

http://www.nashvilleledger.com/editorial/Article.aspx?id=54401

Riding a bike to work is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and get in a good workout. But certain limitations can prevent some people from enjoying that option – unless they have a Rhoades Car.

The four-wheeled vehicle is actually a bicycle, or quadricycle, and can accommodate a wider range of people than the standard two-wheel version.

“We have the four-wheel stability so anybody, whether they be overweight or have balance issues or are just scared of a two-wheel bike, can exercise,” says Bill Pomakoy, president of Hendersonville-based Rhoades Car International. People with vision problems can sit and pedal independently with a passenger and Rhoades can even customize seats to accommodate people with special needs or paralysis.

Pomakoy, who has a background in marketing, took over the business in February 2010 after inventor and original owner David Rhoades passed away suddenly in December 2009 without a succession plan. His next-door neighbor, Pomakoy had always been intrigued by what Rhoades was doing.

“He was just a genius as far as coming up with the concept and laying it all out and having a working model,” he says. “He started the business back in ‘91 out of a small barn in his backyard and then moved it out to an industrial facility ten years later.”

When paying respects to Rhoade’s family after his death, he asked whether the business, which had been on the market for a few months, had sold or not. It hadn’t.

“They didn’t really have a plan, and I have a bunch of friends who are entrepreneurs and thought one of them might be interested,” Pomakoy says. “And as I looked at their business I realized that I was interested myself. So I made the family an offer and they accepted. They were thrilled because the company was going to continue.”

There are four models of bikes and all come in one-, two-, or four-person models and can be customized with all kinds of features. When Pomakoy took over, he mainly worked on appealing to a broader range of clientele.

“He had the designs down pat and he had a really good presence on the Internet and had a good marketing plan, but what I have done is institute more cosmetic changes,” he says. “We knew we had models who appealed to the senior population, but at the same time — with rising gas prices — we knew that there was a need for alternate transportation for people age 30 and up.”

So they came up with Sport Ped model, which uses the same frame as the classic, but has an aerodynamically designed windshield with UV protection. Ranging from seven- to 42-speed options, Rhoades Cars have been sold all over the world. And increasing gas prices have only helped sales here at home.

“From a personal standpoint, I don’t want gas prices to go up, but as they do our sales have gone up because people are looking for alternate means of transportation,” he says. In fact, last year only 10 percent of his orders had an electric motor added. This year, it was 20 percent. And because the electric motor is programmed to stay around 14 miles an hour, they still fall under bike road rules.

“In Hendersonville, a lot of people have golf carts and have to license them with the DMV and insure them to be able to drive around,” he says. “One of these vehicles does not need to be registered because it does follow the bicycle law. If we gear it to go over 20 mph, then it would be a motor vehicle.”

Also important to Pomakoy is the fact his product is certified made in the USA. Not only is it manufactured here, but most elements that go into the bike are made in Middle Tennessee.

“We are using local suppliers to make our components,” he says. “Our steel is United States Steel fabricated in Goodlettsville, powder coated in Madison by another company. Our canopies and canvas fenders are made by Bennett’s Upholstery right here in Hendersonville. We can see other families benefitting from Rhoades Cars.”

Next up, Pomakoy hopes to get involved with Nashville’s bike share program, which recently received a 100-bike donation from Regions Bank.

“We are asking them to embrace a local company that has a four-wheel bicycle that everyone can ride,” he says. “There is a lot of discussion about fighting obesity but realistically a large person is not comfortable on a two-wheel bike. We have bicycles available for obese people to ride.”

 

 

“Hope Beats Eternal” – Good News – Bad News!


By Bill Pomakoy                                                                                                                        President, Rhoades Car International

Each month I look forward to reading the various bicycle industry trade journals for trends, upcoming events and general knowledge about the industry.  As a business owner, I then compare those trends to our business model to see what needs to be tweaked, if anything.

The Good News (at least for bicycle retailers):

Just this morning I read the June edition of Bicycle Retailer, a monthly periodical published by the National Bicycle Dealers Association (NBDA).  The title of one of the articles immediately caught my attention – “Hope Beats Eternal — Industry remains optimistic that gas prices will drive bike sales”. None of us like the high gas price trend that we are all experiencing, but it shows that people are exploring alternative means of transportation to combat these high gas prices, including bicycles. So the good news, at least for bicycle retailers, is that high gas prices usually means a spike in retail bike sales. Another recent article suggested that retail bicycle sales in the first quarter were up around 9%. On the surface, good news, right?

Ready for the bad news??? See if you can pick up on it while reading the three short sentences below taken directly from the article by Matt Wiebe on page 20:

“Road bike imports through the first quarter this year were higher than anytime in the last decade.  Road imports through March were 30% higher than in the same period in 2010, and 31 percent higher than they were in 2008 when gas prices crested $4 a gallon for the first time.  Imports of mountain bikes were up 10 percent over last year for the first three months”.

Some of you are wondering – what IS your point, Bill?  I’m really not trying to be coy. It hit me like a lead balloon as my parents used to say!  My point is that in every sentence noted above from this “good news” article from a respected industry publication, the emphasis is on IMPORTS!   It’s not necessarily the writer’s fault as he is just reporting the facts.  But the facts are not in USA’s favor and that needs to be reversed.

A couple of months ago I tweeted an alarming statistic from the same bicycle industry organization (NBDA) – 99.53% of all bikes sold in the United States (20” and larger) are imported from China or Taiwan.

We all need to get our hands around a problem that is absolutely crippling America.  Remember when the USA was THE manufacturing leader of the world?  Not anymore.  Our trade deficit is at a dangerous level and our recovery depends on reversing this alarming trend and increasing domestic growth dramatically.  We need to get back to manufacturing and purchasing products proudly made in the United States of America.  To many of you I am preaching to the choir. Maybe the others simply don’t realize the danger of continuing to purchase products not made in our great country.  But we all better get a grip on it before it’s too late.  And I believe there is only a short window to reverse the trend.  If a small company like Rhoades Car can survive for 20+ years with our made-in-the-USA philosophy, others can too.

Several members of our team recently made a presentation to a large Tennessee company interested in purchasing a fleet of our industrial 4-wheel bicycles for a new facility.   In preparation for that presentation, we developed a brief synopsis of the benefits of purchasing from a company that manufacturers its products here in the USA.  Let me share a few of those key points with you:

  • All Rhoades Car major components, including proprietary steel frames, are made in Tennessee – not in China or Taiwan
  • Powder coating is applied in Madison, Tennessee
  • Seats are manufactured in Memphis, Tennessee
  • Mag wheels are manufactured in Redding, CA
  • Canopies are handmade by a small upholstery shop in Hendersonville, TN
  • Shipping crate material is purchased from a small lumber mill in Portland, TN (competitive in price with the big box stores, by the way)
  • Axles, steering columns, tirods and all proprietary machined parts are manufactured by various small companies – ALL located in the United States of America

I could go on and on, but by now you get the picture.  It is possible to produce products that are truly made in the USA and every time we do it benefits American families.  We do it at Rhoades Car and there are many more companies out there just like us that need your support.  If we can all focus on buying American-made products, we can get the USA back to once again being the global leader. But it will take sacrifices to get there.

Bottom line???  It can be done – but we better get moving – and soon!

Think “American-made” before you make that next purchase.

Please – Buy American.