We here at EXPLORE take pride in the little community we have here nestled in the Hill Country. This month we feature Summer & Brian Poole, owners of The Shabby Bus and One Love Bicycle Rentals. Small business owners who are working hard to make their dreams come true, and loving every minute of it.
How long have you been in Boerne?
Brian was born and raised in Acapulco, Mexico, and grew up surfing and spending time on his family’s ranch. He moved to SA in 6th grade and attended Hobby Middle School. I moved from Albuquerque, New Mexico to San Antonio in 4th grade and attended Boone Elementary and Rudder Middle School. We both graduated from Clark High School. We’ve spent most of our lives on the north side of SA, and have had ties to the Fair Oaks and Boerne communities for quite some time. We’ve always felt like “unofficial” residents and knew that we eventually wanted to move here. We oficially moved to Boerne about a year ago with our 2 girls, and live right in the heart of downtown. We ride our bikes or walk up to Main St. together almost daily. You may have seen us riding the trikes around at some point.
Give us a brief history of how the businesses came to be?
We have 2 businesses growing in this community.
With The Shabby Bus, it truly was a beautiful accident, and it definitely was not my original business plan. I graduated from UTSA and began teaching at NISD. I taught 4th grade for 7 years, and truly loved working with my students. However, I had a dream to start an after school enrichment program here in Boerne. I resigned from NISD in June of 2013, we moved our family to Boerne that summer, and I started to put my plan into action. Part of the plan involved buying a 15 passenger bus to transport the kiddos. We found a great deal on a little shuttle bus in Arlington (she was originally used a stadium shuttle bus at the Dallas Cowboy games.) We drove up there as a family, and I drove her back to town. I continued on with the rest of my plan, and was set to receive a “government guaranteed small business loan”, when the government shut down happened. I was told that would delay my plans about 3-6 months. We could not afford that delay, and didn’t know what to do next. It was too late for me to get any teaching positions, and I felt desperate. All we could do was pray, and ask for guidance. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my head in my hands saying, “What am I going to do now? All I have is this silly bus”. Then the idea just kinda hit me… “I have a BUS!!!” My master carpenter husband and I got to work and turned her into The Shabby Bus she is today.
One Love Bike Rentals is still in the early stages. Anyone who knows Brian knows he is a huge reggae fan. We even named our daughter Marley. After moving to Boerne, we really took up bike riding as a family. We biked all over town and up and down Boerne’s trail system. Brian and I have also joined Boerne’s Slow Ride gang a few times on their rides. One day we were just discussing how Boerne should have a bike rental business. Brian began working on his business plan, and pretty soon bought some great bikes. We are really close to getting this business off the ground and look forward to some cooler weather when we can put this plan into action for good!!
What have been some obstacles you have run into with getting the businesses up and running?
Once we decided to put The Shabby Bus into action, we have had nothing but open arms in this community. Susan Cole, who works for the city, got me all set up with my permit. I’ve spent quite a bit of time with Larry, Val, and Wendy at the visitors center. I joined the chamber with Lisa, and have enjoyed the benefits of being a member. Other business owners in this community have given so much love and support that I have never felt any resistance to the idea of a shabby little tour bus.
One Love Bike Rentals has been a little more difficult to get up and running. We’ve had a little resistance from the city about starting a bike rental business, and some feel that Boerne is, “just not ready for something like this yet”. We really disagree. With the new trail system, the unique shops and boutiques, great restaurants to stop for a bite and a drink, and all the historical buildings, we’ve got some plans for self guided tours that will drum up some business for Boerne in a fun and exciting way. All the major cities and communities surrounding us have bike rental businesses that are very successful. We just need a little more time, but hope to have the bikes renting this fall.
What about Boerne makes having your businesses easy/difficult?
I think that the great location of Boerne has made all the difference for The Shabby Bus. We’re close enough to San Antonio for a safe group bus ride to town for any night out with friends or a special event. We’ve done group shuttles for dinner at Pearl and Southtown, shows at the Majestic Theater, Concerts, and Spurs games.
However, we’re most know for our Hill Country tours. The 45 minute drive to Fredericksburg is a lot more fun when you’re with your friends on the bus, and you don’t have to worry about driving back home after all the wine tastings.
I also think that Shabby works great for our creative and artistic little town. The community has really supported and complimented the bus wherever she’s gone. We try to do as much as we can for the community in return and really enjoy being a unique bus just for Boerne.
For One Love Bike Rentals, it has been a little harder to get started, but we are confident that once the business is officially open to the public, it’ll be such a fun and unique addition to our quaint little town. These are not your typical bikes. We have adult sized trikes and tandems. Everywhere we’ve ridden them so far, we’ve had lots of compliments, interest, and questions about when we’ll be renting them. We truly think the community is ready for something like this. It hasn’t been easy, but that’s just part of starting any new business. It’ll be that much more rewarding when we have that official ribbon cutting in the future.
If you didn’t have your businesses, what do you think you’d be doing?
I’m a certified teacher. I would be back in the classroom. I truly do miss working with the kiddos, and do see myself teaching again in the future.
Brian is a master carpenter and custom cabinet builder. He continues to work for prestigious home builders in and around the area as he gets One Love up and running.
What part(s) of the businesses are the most enjoyable? Least enjoyable?
If you have ever seen any of our posts on Facebook, you probably know what my favorite part of this business is. It’s so much fun being part of a fun memory that a group is making. When my groups are on the bus, it’s such a stress free zone. I’m in charge of the driving and the details. They just get to sit back, relax, and have fun with some of their favorite people. I get to witness it. A lot of times the groups ask me to join them for certain things. I’ve been part of the tasting tours (although I didn’t do the actual tasting), jumped off a 20 foot deck at Dave’s Place, joined groups for lunch, danced on the bus, and jumped in for many pictures. Just recently I took a group to the grape stomping event at Becker and was asked to join them in the bucket of grapes to stomp around. My favorite part is definitely all the fun I get to witness and be a part of. I even like driving the long stretches. I’ve always been a road trip girl.
There’s not much I don’t enjoy. Sometimes there are long periods where I’m waiting on the bus alone. Even that is great because I always bring a book and enjoy the quiet reading time. For now, it’s probably more the uncertainty of the business. It’s been kind of feast or famine this past year. There are going to be slower periods during the year for the bus, and I’m just now learning what they are. October will be my one year mark, so I still have so much to learn about running a business like this.
The bikes aren’t officially being rented to the public yet, but we still like to take them out for spins with our family and friends. There is no doubt how much fun these bikes are, and when you get a group riding together, it just doubles the fun. The bikes truly are head turners, and we’ve received so many compliments. Plus, you’re getting a great workout in.
What are the long term plans for you?
We have some secrets up our sleeves. Shabby is not going anywhere. This first year has been a great year for us, and we see big things happening for her in the future. As Boerne continues to grow, this little business will too.
One Love Bike Rentals will become a reality. We hope to have a great location near downtown and close to the trails. We’re in the process of finding our perfect spot now. As with any new business it just takes time and determination.
It seems that we’ve found a “nitch” in this community for fun and funky modes of transportation. We want people in this community to come to us when they want to do something different and fun. It may seem we’re in the transportation and tourism industry, but really we’re in the business of making unique memories. We plan on continuing with that for many years to come.
What would you like to say to the Boerne community?
We’re not done yet!! This idea of community is very important to us. We love bringing people together and creating memories. Keep an eye on us to see what will come next. If you see us driving down the road in Shabby, or riding a One Love bike through town with our kiddos or friends, give up a little wave. We love being a part of this community!!