Few industries have more passionate devotees than artisanal coffee and hand-built bicycles. Individually, they conjure images of a vibrant and modern urban community. Together, they're the magic of Chicago's Heritage Bicycles. Founded by Michael Salvatore in 2011, Heritage combines Chicago's rich and proud manufacturing industry with a hip and contemporary gathering space for lovers of brewed beans. “Both bikes and coffee have very loyal customer bases, and we've been able to capitalize on both in Chicago,” Michael says. Long before becoming an international brand, Heritage knew the Internet would be the tool to help them gear up. “The Internet has always been the foundation of the business.”
Michael leverages a variety of Google tools to make the most of the web. He creates geo-targeted campaigns in AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to drive local traffic to their two brick-and-mortar stores. He expands his reach with global AdWords campaigns to promote e-commerce sales of bikes and accessories. Google Apps for Work facilitates instantaneous collaboration amongst employees and is easy to scale as the business grows. Google Street View takes customers on virtual 360-degree tours of their stores. Google Analytics helps Michael to better understand his customers and make timely, data-driven decisions. “Google Analytics is literally on my screen all day long. Those graphs and trends and real-time data help me determine where to put our energy.” And their results have been a small-business tour de force.
Sales have grown a steady 35% year-over-year and Heritage plans to open three more stores in Chicago in 2016. Michael believes Google has played a significant role in their success. “There are so many little things that these products help us with every day,” he says. “I don’t know that we’d be in the same place without Google.” Their hand-built bicycles may have earned them an international reputation as a mecca for discerning cyclists, but Michael is equally proud of the impact that he’s making closer to home. “We currently have 23 employees, and we'll soon have close to 40,” he says. “It means a lot to me that we’re creating jobs in Chicago.”