Ms. Mojo Risin’
Starting a business is tough. Growing that business into a successful one…that’s even tougher. Lisa Kaveggia has had quite the ride since she first started her Denver-based bike shop Mojo Wheels 26 years ago. What started out as a struggling small business is now a thriving shop and passionate crew of mountain bike enthusiasts who have some extra mojo in their wheels.
A passionate biking community
Denver is located at the base of the Rocky Mountains, making it a mecca for mountain biking. Lisa’s vision for Mojo Wheels – a top-shelf destination for mountain bikes – induced die-hard mountain bikers to naturally gravitate to her shop. After two and a half decades and a lot of work, Lisa’s turned those customers into a community.
Mojo Wheels has its own mountain biking team, with bikers as young as 8 and as old as 59. No matter the age or skill level, everyone competes.
“It’s a mentoring team,” Lisa said. “Everyone works together, whether you’re an eight-year-old or you’re a 22-year-old pro.”
Business peaks & valleys
Working in the mountain biking industry, Lisa is surrounded by men in her life. She’s also the mom of three boys, and the sister to three brothers. She’s no stranger to being the only woman in a room, yet when she was just launching her business and needed support, it was a fellow female role model who stepped in to help bring Lisa’s vision into reality.
Lisa was just 27 years old when she opened Mojo Wheels, and it was her mother who was a steadfast believer in her daughter’s mission. When Lisa needed a loan to get started, her mom put up her own home as collateral. As Lisa puts it, “I couldn’t have done it without her.”
Even with the starter loan, it took years of tough days and long nights to make Mojo Wheels a thriving business in the Denver community. Lisa credits two things to her success – advice she would give to another struggling business owner:
- Work your tail off.
- Have your priorities in line.
“I always pay the government first, I pay the employees second, the vendors third, and if there’s anything left over you get paid. You have to work a long time for nothing. I also worked evenings at a CPA firm too so I could survive.”
When money is tight, every penny counts. Lisa analyzes every invoice to be sure Mojo Wheels isn’t leaving any savings on the table. Even when times seem tough, Lisa assures that it’s all worth it in the end. Today, she’s reached the dream she initially set out to achieve.
“I hated corporate America so I wanted to own my own business. That’s essentially why I started it,” she remembers. “Now I have freedom. I’m taking the next two days off and going skiing.”
Sustainability for a better future
Mojo Wheels has had a recycling program for more than a decade. As the owner of a business that generates a ton of excess cardboard, Lisa wanted to be sure she did the right thing for the environment. This is not only important to Lisa, but also to her employees and customers. After all, outdoor enthusiasts have a tendency to want to preserve the natural spaces they enjoy.
With two bins clearly marked for landfill or recycling, Mojo Wheels employees always know what gets tossed and what gets recycled. Lisa has made sure all her team members are educated on the recycling program, and now it’s second nature for everyone.
Since partnering with Rubicon, Lisa has been able to recycle without overspending. She decided to make the switch after experiencing limited transparency and rate hikes for years with her previous provider.
As for her personal sustainability motivations?
“It’s just the right thing to do. I have kids. I want them to grow up in a clean world.”
Editor Note: References made to businesses/companies in this post are not meant to convey endorsement by Rubicon of those companies in any way.