Morgan Baumgardner (far right) and husband Tyler Baumgardner founded Encore Bike Rentals after settling in Northwest Arkansas in 2021. Their startup aims to help residents “ride like locals” on local trails.
Bellavista, Arkansas – Encore Bike Rentals was founded last year after an enterprising young couple unexpectedly visited northwest Arkansas. It’s a fast-growing startup focused on helping residents “ride like a local” on local trails.
When Morgan and Tyler Baumgardner were traveling around the country in their RV, Morgan’s mother sent Morgan a link about the extensive trail system in Benton and Washington counties.
They arrived in July 2021 and “didn’t want to leave,” said Morgan Baumgardner.
However, when family came to visit, I had trouble renting bikes for the trails. His Baumgarnders, who founded a marketing company two years ago, thought there might be a solution to improving trail access.
Join GORP, or the Greenhouse Outdoor Recreation Program. Led by the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, GORP supports startups with workshop training, team mentoring, and dedicated product/service development to help startups scale globally. The program also provides up to $15,000 in “undiluted seed funding” per company. This is funds that do not require owners to give up their shares in the company.
Baumgardners joined the first GORP cohort in January and the startup was in the launch stage. The company had a website, but he didn’t rent any bikes.
Now, just a few months after graduating from a 12-week course, you can now rent quality mountain bikes in three cities through our concierge service. Encore Bike Rentals offers free bike delivery (and pickup) to Bella Vista, Bentonville, and Rogers trailheads, hotels, vacation rentals, and more.
Morgan Baumgardner said GORP encouraged the company to “think beyond” bike rentals, asking program mentors to determine how they wanted to impact couples.
“When companies and start-ups want to grow or take their business to the next level, GORP can help them,” said Morgan Baumgardner.
She added that GORP’s joint experience of sharing her entrepreneurial journey is also beneficial.
“It’s been really nice to be around other growing companies[and]made the journey less lonely,” says Morgan Baumgardner.
GORP assets support Encore Bike Rentals even though the company has exited the program. Because GORP is designed to support entrepreneurs before, during and after cohorts, and to provide a consistent connection to speakers, workshops and industry experts. said Phil Shellhammer, who is director of GORP.
“Businesses like Encore will continue to fuel the strong tourism industry that NWA is growing around the amazing outdoor recreational experiences that are available here,” said Shellhammer.
Encore Bike Rental is one of four companies that graduated from GORP’s first cohort in April. Others included American Hunt, Lacaida Ropes and Trail Tours. A second cohort will start in his August.
About the U of A Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The Office of Entrepreneurship and Innovation creates and curates innovation and entrepreneurship experiences for students of all disciplines. Through the Brewer Family Entrepreneurship Hub, McMillon Innovation Studio and Startup Village, OEI offers free workshops and programs. This includes social and corporate innovation design teams, venture internships, contests, and startup coaching. OEI also provides on-demand support for students becoming innovators within existing organizations and entrepreneurs starting something new.