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Local business owner, Shawn Hafley


Shawn Hafley, standing in front of his business Flanders Bicycle, which opened in 2011.
Photo by Aric Sweeny / Special Contributor – Journalism 201A

By Aric Sweeny
Special Contributor
Journalism 201A

Not many people manage their own business; not many people get to DJ on the radio. Shawn Hafley, a San Luis Obispo local, does both simultaneously.

Hafley, along with John Richert, opened Flanders Bicycle in 2011. The two pondered opening the business in late 2010, and were able to open the doors to their new business by early summer 2011.

“We opened up this business for less than $10,000,” Hafley noted. “When we opened the doors we had maybe two or three road bikes and two or three BMX bikes. We had tubes and random stuff, but those were our only bikes.”

If one pays Flanders Bicycle a visit today, they’ll find a wide range of bikes and other products. But this wasn’t always the case.

So, how does a small business go about its marketing? Luckily, finding customers didn’t take much.

“The good thing about our marketing, in the beginning, is that both of us had been longtime locals and had a reputation. The word spread within our own communities and as soon as we opened the doors we already had customers. Thankfully, we didn’t have to build up a bunch of hype on our own,” Hafley said.

Though word of mouth was an attribution to the shop’s success, some traditional advertising was used as well.

“We did take advantage of social media, Craigslist, Instagram, Facebook, in what I call the ‘golden era’ of that, about 6-7 years ago,” Hafley said.

Hafley and Richert also did hard copy advertising in publications like New Times and participated in many local events.

In addition to his role within Flanders Bicycle, Hafley DJs Citizen Sound on KCBX, a local radio show about indie and alternative music. He got the gig nearly four years ago.

“I was always interested in a radio show on KCBX. They offered it to me about four years ago. I got to do an indie and alternative radio show on a public radio station that really focused on World Jazz and Classical; Blues, there’s a lot of Blues in there, too. There wasn’t really anything for my genXer group that was listening to non-commercial radio that wasn’t listening to KCPR.”

Hafley’s history in radio goes past Citizen Sound, though.

“I’ve been in radio since 1994,” Hafley mentioned. “I did a show on KBear for awhile. And then I was a manager at Boo Boo records for a decade, and Boo Boos had a radio show.”

Seeing as how technology has dramatically changed over the course of the last two decades it seems that being a DJ has transitioned into all digital work now, according to Hafley.

“I have played one CD in four years on my radio show. It was because I had a technical glitch and I had a little bit of dead air, and there happened to be a promotional CD that was put in my cubby. So I needed something to play. Other than that, in four years, I haven’t played a CD,” Hafley said.