What a boy will do for a low-rider bike
FRISCO – In the world of a 13-year-old, tragedy, strife and peace of mind can hinge on a thing as simple as a bike.
For Alex Penrose, it was all of these things – and a goal that precipitated his entry into entrepreneurism.
Penrose is typical of soon-to-be eighth-graders in most ways. The mouthguard he will wear when football practices begin in August will cover braces and rubber bands. He enjoys TV as much as he enjoys hanging out at the nearest skateboard shop.
And he has wants – most notably, a two-wheeled conveyance, one with plenty of chrome and extras, in a style he and his peers simply call a “low-rider.”
Where Penrose begins to diverge from his peers is his willingness to sacrifice for those wants and his ingenuity in achieving his goals. After hanging out at 50-50 Skateboards in Frisco and taking the owner’s low-rider bicycle for a test drive, Penrose knew what he wanted.
He and his mother ordered the bike online, working out an agreement to pay for it by Christmas.
Penrose wasted no time and lined up some work at Q4U’s booth on Main Street during the Fourth of July festivities.
“They didn’t need me, so I was pretty bummed,” Penrose said. “I went home and watched TV. I didn’t know what I was going to do.”
While Penrose was hanging out at the skate shop again, an idea floated in on the convection currents off the super-heated sidewalk. The store owner suggested Penrose could make a fortune just selling ice cream or water. Before he could say “refreshment,” Penrose found himself in the aisles of Wal-Mart, picking up a styrofoam cooler and drinks.
His first day in business for himself, Penrose broke even.
“I realized, hey, I can do this,” he said Saturday after handing out his last ice cream cone to other concessionaires at the Music On Main Street event.
He gave up on the small styrofoam cooler and used a bigger, more portable one from home. He expanded his product line to sodas, lemonade, water and ice cream. And, he started learning how to price his goods so as to still attract customers while earning a decent profit.
Now, he finds himself raking in about $10 a day.
He’s been at it every day since last Saturday, and he’s not stopping until his mother decides it’s time to head back to Arkansas.
“I’ve got such a good taste in my mouth, I might start my own business some day,” Penrose said. “But I always thought I’d study engineering. I don’t know.”
It’s Penrose’s first summer in Summit County, but he hopes it will be the first of many.
He came with his mother to stay with his uncle, local contractor Sean McDonald. He’d like to stay for the activities and for the temperate climate.
“I love it here,” he said. “There’s so much family-oriented stuff to do. We’ve got bike paths at home, but they’re all dirt. Here, they’re paved. I even saw a 6-year-old on a skateboard yesterday. And, there’s so many festivals and things, and you can go out to them without worrying about the humidity. It’s great.”
But there are things waiting for him at home.
Even though Mountain Home, Ark., doesn’t have a Starbucks or a skateboard shop (or jobs for 13-year-olds), his puppies are waiting for him there.
“I miss them,” he said. “But I’ll also miss making money.”
Reid Williams can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 237, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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