Pat Sullivan is the owner of Sullivan’s Continental Bike Shop and Amp Brothers Electric Cycles in Hazel Park.  After a tough year, he has new stock  available for the holidays.

Pat Sullivan is the owner of Sullivan’s Continental Bike Shop and Amp Brothers Electric Cycles in Hazel Park. After a tough year, he has new stock available for the holidays.

Photo by Deb Jacques


Entrepreneurs reflect on the small business experience in Madison Heights, Hazel Park

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison - Park News | Published November 24, 2021

 Dr. Jill Tack, owner of The Pet Beastro in Madison Heights, is well-versed in holistic and healthy foods for dogs and cats.

Dr. Jill Tack, owner of The Pet Beastro in Madison Heights, is well-versed in holistic and healthy foods for dogs and cats.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

MADISON HEIGHTS/HAZEL PARK — Nov. 27 is Small Business Saturday, a day to appreciate the shops and services that help give a town its character. The pandemic has posed problems for many of them, from supply chain issues to staffing shortages. But entrepreneurs say that when you shop local, you’re helping them weather the storm.

Pat Sullivan, the owner of Sullivan’s Continental Bike Shop and Amp Brothers Electric Cycles, both located at 24436 John R Road in Hazel Park, is hopeful that people will consider buying a shiny new bicycle to put under the tree this Christmas.

Sullivan’s Continental Bike Shop is a dealer for brands such as Detroit Bikes, Bianchi, Da Vinci Designs and KHS Bicycles, and doubles as a service center featuring three techs with a combined 100 years of experience. The store has been at its current location for 22 years now. Amp Brothers opened 15 years ago, when electric bike stores were relatively new.

The repair service has helped his business get by at a time when new stock has been limited due to industrywide production issues and shipping delays caused by container ships struggling to dock and offload at ports — a side effect of the global pandemic.

By Sullivan’s estimate, his store has lost at least 2,000 sales this year and 2,000 sales last year because the stock wasn’t there. He said that it’s been an issue for all bike shops, and he knows of at least several stores that went out of business because of it.

“I don’t mean to sound all doom and gloom, but this has been honestly the hardest two years in the history of the bike business,” he said. “The struggle is real in this industry. Every shop got hammered this year wishing they had stuff. More businesses are going to go — it’s just a matter of how long they can hold on.”

While Sullivan is thankful that his store recently got more stock, he sees a bleak irony in the fact they arrived late in the year, when the weather is cold and sales typically slow down.

Still, there are currently models available for people to try — test rides are free, by appointment — and he noted that a bike sold now will find use soon enough.

“The warm weather will be here in a jiffy,” Sullivan said.

He added he takes pride in serving a community that loves to bike.

“We have a lot of people here in Hazel Park who ride bikes to work — they don’t drive cars — and we’ve been here doing repairs for them, keeping them on the roads, even when other shops had no service whatsoever during the pandemic,” Sullivan said.

“Some of the corporate stores only work on the brands that they sell, so they will turn you away if you have a regular person’s bike — they won’t service it. But we will fix anything we can,” he said. “We don’t turn people away because they’re not buying our brands. We will still fix it. We’re an anti-corporate bike shop, and we’re down to earth.”

The Pet Beastro, at 27637 John R Road in Madison Heights, is another store that has had challenges due to the pandemic — but the business has found opportunities, as well.

The Pet Beastro specializes in natural pet food, treats, toys and supplies that are safe, organic, nutritious, and made in the U.S. The store’s concept was inspired by the experiences of the founder and owner, Dr. Jill Tack, a board-certified naturopathic doctor. She is an expert on natural and alternative diets for cats and dogs, who found success nurturing her own pets to health through the use of raw diets and other natural therapies.     

“While we had an online market, the pandemic allowed us to continue to grow our inventory and offerings available on the web,” Tack said in an email. “In March of 2020, we launched our same-day local delivery service for metro Detroit pet lovers, which was extremely popular.”

That being said, “We have experienced supply chain issues and hiring difficulties, like most other small businesses,” she said.

Tack recounted her store’s steady growth, and how what began in 2005 as a home business helping friends, family and Greyhound rescues quickly grew into something more.

Within a few months, Tack found herself ordering 4,000-6,000 pounds of raw pet food to meet the growing demand. In 2007 she moved operations into a small retail space, and several years later moved again. The business underwent multiple expansions, including a complete remodel in 2018.

The store bills itself as offering the largest selection of raw pet food in Michigan. The staff are trained to design well-balanced diets for pets that maximize nutrient intake and avoid inflammation, digestive troubles and other issues. The idea is that the right diet can extend the longevity of pets, and improve their overall health and happiness. The store offers one-on-one paid consultations for more specific pet health and diet recommendations.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of a community,” Tack said. “We hire local employees, serve our customers and support local organizations. We love helping to feed and support our local police K-9 units with food and chiropractic services, and seeing their dogs thrive.

“Relationships are very important to us,” she added. “We want The Pet Beastro to be a fun place to work, as well as a place to make a positive difference in dogs’ and cats’ lives through nutrition and wellness.”  

She also said that her store has plans for the weekend of Nov. 27.

“The Pet Beastro is offering some fun activities for the Small Business Weekend, as our way of saying ‘thank you’ for supporting us the past 15 years,” Tack said. “In addition, The Pet Beastro will be hosting several upcoming holiday activities for your pets. Be sure to keep an eye on our Facebook calendar to learn more.”

For more information on The Pet Beastro, call (248) 548-3448, visit thepetbeastro.com, or email info@thepetbeastro.com.

For more information on Sullivan’s Continental Bike Shop and Amp Brothers Electric Cycles, call (248) 545-1225 or visit continentalbikes.com.