A recent article in Business Week detailed the history of an American success story, bicycle components manufacturer SRAM. Besides learning that the firm name uses the founders' initials, it was entertaining to read that the CEO was unemployed in 1987 when he decided to get into the bike parts business by making shifters, the famous GripShift. It was a miserable flop for road bikes but by 1989 had become a success with mountain bikers. A lawsuit against Shimano, which only would sell complete component sets, was settled and the company has gone from strength to strength, with current revenues at US$ 318 million annually. The firm employs 1800 people in 12 offices in 7 countries. It has purchased a number of well-known parts manufacturers, including RockShox, Avid and Sachs Bicycle Components. In 2006 it introduced the new Force and Rival road groups and they have begun to appear on pro-level racing bikes.
SRAM sounds like a fun place to work:
You won't find many cars at SRAM's headquarters on the Near North Side of Chicago. Nearly all the office's 100 employees pedal to work, including Day, who is 51. Expensive road and mountain bikes clutter the place. Day himself doesn't work from a regular desk or office. Six-foot-three and fit, he uses a drafting table in the open. Walls, he says, would cut him off from co-workers. Or the beer vending machine, where employees can buy cold ones for 75 cents after 5 p.m. Or his view of the bike test track, which runs the circumference of the interior.