Heritage Bicycles Chicago, Illinois
“The Internet has helped level the playing field so we can compete with the big guys.”Michael Salvatore, OwnerHeritage Bicycles has 23 employees.link www.heritagebicycles.comFew industries have more passionate devotees than artisanal coffee and hand-built bicycles. Individually, they conjure images of a vibrant and modern urban community. Together, they're the magic of Chicago's Heritage Bicycles. Founded by Michael Salvatore in 2011, Heritage combines Chicago's rich and proud manufacturing industry with a hip and contemporary gathering space for lovers of brewed beans. “Both bikes and coffee have very loyal customer bases, and we've been able to capitalize on both in Chicago,” Michael says. Long before becoming an international brand, Heritage knew the Internet would be the tool to help them gear up. “The Internet has always been the foundation of the business.”
Michael leverages a variety of Google tools to make the most of the web. He creates geo-targeted campaigns in AdWords, Google’s advertising program, to drive local traffic to their two brick-and-mortar stores. He expands his reach with global AdWords campaigns to promote e-commerce sales of bikes and accessories. Google Apps for Work facilitates instantaneous collaboration amongst employees and is easy to scale as the business grows. Google Street View takes customers on virtual 360-degree tours of their stores. Google Analytics helps Michael to better understand his customers and make timely, data-driven decisions. “Google Analytics is literally on my screen all day long. Those graphs and trends and real-time data help me determine where to put our energy.” And their results have been a small-business tour de force.
Sales have grown a steady 35% year-over-year and Heritage plans to open three more stores in Chicago in 2016. Michael believes Google has played a significant role in their success. “There are so many little things that these products help us with every day,” he says. “I don’t know that we’d be in the same place without Google.” Their hand-built bicycles may have earned them an international reputation as a mecca for discerning cyclists, but Michael is equally proud of the impact that he’s making closer to home. “We currently have 23 employees, and we'll soon have close to 40,” he says. “It means a lot to me that we’re creating jobs in Chicago.”Heritage Bicycles has 23 employees.link www.heritagebicycles.com
Kids Science Labs Chicago, Illinois
Kids Science Labs
“People find us from all over the world. Google Search is empowering our brand on a worldwide stage.”Keith Norsym, Co-founder & COO50% growth in 2014link www.kslchicago.comFor every kid who’s wondered, “Where does the water go out of the bathtub?” or “How do my lungs work?,” Kids Science Labs (KSL) is a world of possibility. Friends Keith Norsym and Shegan Campbell, fathers themselves, founded hands-on science learning centers to feed children’s natural curiosity and make them better critical thinkers and problem solvers as they investigate how the world works. For Keith and Shegan, it’s about allowing kids to investigate topics they are naturally curious about, building confidence, and encouraging the children to learn more when they leave one of the labs. “They feel empowered. They feel proud,” Keith says. “They believe they can create and invent. And it’s a lot bigger than science in that moment.” And the Internet, he adds, “plays an absolutely integral role in everything we do.”
A huge amount of research goes into the creation of each class, powered by Google Search, Chrome, and Google Apps for Work, including Google Docs, Sheets, and more. “We’ve also investigated all the neighborhoods where we plan to locate a KSL center, to understand where there are the like-minded businesses, schools, etc.," Keith says. "If you looked at our Google Maps, you’d see about 10,000 stars of saved businesses. We’d be lost without it.” Whether looking online for class materials or sharing those materials with kids across the country via YouTube, Keith sees the Internet as something “we take for granted because it’s just so ingrained in our lives.” Since the first center opened in 2011, Google Analytics and AdWords, Google’s advertising program, have helped Keith and Shegan understand how parents seek a resource like KSL and to raise awareness.
With strong growth in 2013 and 2014, they’re getting ready to “impact millions of lives,” Keith says. “We are doubling the number of KSL innovation centers in 2015 from from two to four, and opening more than 50 centers over the next three years so kids between 2 and 12 years old have their own discovery lab to solve problems and design the future.” In the meantime, they look forward to the day they come across a news article about a student who has done something amazing. “When asked by the editor ‘What inspired you and helped you along your path?,’" Keith says, "part of the answer will be 'Kids Science Labs.'” Because wondering why can change the world.50% growth in 2014link www.kslchicago.com
Our home in Illinois
Google opened its first office in Chicago in 2000 and we’re proud to be a part of communities in the Windy City. Learn more about Google in Chicago.