Bike manufacturer Independent Fabrication will expand to new, larger facilities in May that will feature an improved manufacturing space, additional employee amenities, a customer showroom, a bike fitting center and a reception center.
But much of the staff — about half of the dozen-or-so employees who worked there when owner Gary Smith announced the move in November — won’t be joining him at the new location in Newmarket, N.H. For some employees, that’s because getting to the new facility, located about 60 miles north of the company’s current location in the Greater Boston city of Somerville, would require them to relocate or to make hour-long commutes each way.
Smith, who acquired the company three years ago, said the decision to move had a number of causes, including what he says is too little space in an aging building, a location in a bad part of town and fears that they would eventually be developed out of the area because of proposed commuter rail station. He said the move is not about saving money and said he tried to find a production space in Boston proper.
“I will likely never recover what I have, and will put into it,” Smith said in an e-mail. “It is a pursuit of passion, and an attempt to create a unique experience for both employees and customers alike and create a sustainable future for IF.” Staffers, however, some of whom have been with the company for more than a decade and who have strong roots in Boston, feel left behind. Boston is home to a large number of small bicycling manufacturers and a close-knit bicycling community.
First reported on by Embrocation Cycling Journal, staff leaving include many key figures at the company, including founder and production manager Lloyd Graves, who left the company in December.
Also gone is brand manager Tyler Evans, who joined the company in 1999. Evans, who says the Somerville facility is located in a pleasant neighborhood, said relocating from the vibrant bicycling community in Boston or enduring 1.5-hour commutes each way were not something he wanted.
“I want to be able to ride my bike to work, and do it from my house in Boston,” Evans said. “I believe in the bikes I make and I ride it to work each day.”
Despite the losses in staff — some were planned departures over the holidays and others were unexpected loses — Smith said the company is excited about moving to the New Hampshire facility.
“IF has a colorful history of people coming and going, so it’s sad when anyone leaves,” Smith said. “I understand that it personally doesn’t work for some folks. There’s a difference between an urban setting and a rural setting.”
Smith said several employees have already joined the company, including some employees who had left the company years ago.
- Police Officers Injured in Brawl Outside New Hampshire Nightclub
- New Hampshire committee rejects appeal for Northern Pass power line
- Deadlocked New Hampshire Senate kills commuter rail study
- University of New Hampshire Shifts from Cinco de Mayo to Unity Day
- New Hampshire’s ‘Live Free Or Die’ Motto Often Invoked, With Mixed Results
- New Haven downs So. New Hampshire in NE-10 baseball tournament
- Harrisburg Senators and New Hampshire Fisher Cats split doubleheader
- New Hampshire’s building code gets bad reviews
- 2 Killed, 2 Injured In New Hampshire Boat Crash
- Girl, 7, among 2 who died in New Hampshire boat crash
- Manchester woman named Miss New Hampshire
- Harrisburg Senators beat New Hampshire Fisher Cats in walk-off finish