LAWRENCE — Raymond Barrieau is an avid motorcyclist and he dreads having to put away his beloved custom-built chopper for the winter.
Just about every other biker in New England feels the same way so Barrieau, 61, came up with an idea for a business he has started: Winterbiker.
He’ll ship your motorcycle to a secure facility in Orlando, Florida, he said. He can also arrange to get you a discounted airline ticket, he said, so you can fly to the Sunshine State, then get on a bus that will take you to where your motorcycle is stored.
You’ll be all set to hop on your Harley, Suzuki, Honda or whatever and enjoy easy riding while your friends up north are freezing – or cussing because the roads are too icy for motorcycles.
Jimmy Guerrero has always had an eye for style in clothing. When he’d go to the mall during his younger years, he said, he would find clothes that didn’t quite suit him, so he’d alter them.
“They used to call me Versace,” he said with a grin.
Guerrero, 25, decided to turn his passion for fashion into a business. He teamed up with his friend, Alex Sanchez, 30, and they started WTHRS Apparel, a company that specializes in the design and creation of unique, custom-made clothing in limited release.
Guerrero, who is an artist, takes car of the creative side of the business, while Sanchez, who worked in several management positions for Home Depot, handles the operational aspects.
Barrieau, Guerrero and Sanchez are enrolled in the Accelerator class offered by EforAll, a nonprofit organization that teaches entrepreneurs how to start successful businesses. The “E” stands for entrepreneurship.
Barrieau probably knows more about motorcycles than most people. He’s been riding and fixing them for 45 years.
When it comes to financing, however, he said he needed the guidance he has received from EforAll, which provides new business owners with mentors.
“They taught me the language, what the financial world looks for,” he said. EforAll mentors have also helped him develop his website and do market research.
Guerrero and Sanchez said they have benefited from advice on marketing and public relations.
“I was searching for something like this,” said Barrieau, of Methuen, who found out about EforAll by reading an article in The Eagle-Tribune.
Barrieau is actually no stranger to running his own business. He owned and operated an auto body shop for 15 years and he has also remodeled houses.
Nevertheless, he said he appreciates learning “how to talk to the business world.”
Sanchez and Guerrero said they hope to eventually hire people. The vision of manufacturing clothing in Lawrence, a city that for so many years was famous for its textile mills, excites them, they said.
Sanchez said his main inspiration for starting the company is to provide his daughter Ayva with a better future.
Barrieau, Guerrero and Sanchez are among 13 budding entrepreneurs enrolled in EforAll’s Accelerator program. Joey Banh, the program manager, said there are three requirements for Accelerator participants: They must be passionate about their business ideas, committed to being entrepreneurs – and coachable.
“I was searching for something like this,” Barrieau said. He is now confident, he said, that he, Sanchez and Guerrero will succeed in their efforts to own and operate their own businesses.
“We’re all hitting the gas,” he said.