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Three Minutes Across the Counter With: Nicole Bilu and Deborah Capone

"Anyone can be trained on juice and coffee but you can’t easily train someone to not be a jerk."

Nicole Bilu and Deborah Capone of Juice Pedaler
Nicole Bilu and Deborah Capone of Juice Pedaler
Biking and juicing (not that kind of juicing!) go together almost as well as peanut butter and chocolate.

But they’re a whole lot healthier.

Nicole Bilu and Deborah Capone are clearly on to something with Juice Pedaler, their bike shop/full-scale juice bar located across from Prospect Park in Windsor Terrace in Brooklyn. 

Here’s more on how they do it:

Patch: How did you get your first start in business?

Nicole: This business idea came to us while at a picnic in Prospect Park. We noticed the space became vacant and my husband said that would be a great place for a bike shop but Deb and I wanted more than that since we didn’t really know much about bikes. At the time we were juicing with our families and thought that would be a great pairing.

Deb:
After having three kids in 4 years, I decided to open up my own preschool.  I figured it was cheaper than paying for the three of them! Well it wasn’t cheaper but it was a good decision and I now have four locations.

P: How did your parents influence you as a business owner?

N: Both of my grandmothers had their own business. One had a café the other a women's clothing store so I have that merchant gene. My father had a great work ethic as well.

D:
My dad was always in business. He started with the family business—sanitation.  That really didn’t interest me.  He left sanitation and got into vending as an additional source of income while working as a NYC fireman. Over the years, I’ve heard him talk a lot about the benefits of running your own business.

P: How long have you lived here?

N: I have lived here for 9 years

D:
Just over 12 years

P: What's your favorite thing about living here?

Both: We love living on the Park as well as the small town vibe in the middle of this city.

P: What's a business mistake you've made that later you were glad you did?

D: I expanded my preschool business before I was ready. I stretched myself too thin both with my time and finances.  But in the end, it worked out really well so it was my good mistake.

P: Tell us something about yourself that most of your neighbors don't know.

N: I was the "it girl" on South Beach 1994 according to Ocean Drive magazine

D:
During college I worked at Madison Square Garden and accidentally tucked my skirt into my tights during a Ranger game.  As I walked around arena, the fans started the wave and my exposed behind ended up on the Jumbotron.

P: What's the best business advice you've ever received?

D: Don’t let others distract you from your vision. Know what you want to do and do it.

P: What advice would you give to a small business owner just starting out?

N: Read your lease thoroughly…better yet have a lawyer do it.

P: What do you look for when you hire?


N: Experience, personality, eagerness to learn and dependability.

D:
 Personality is key in this business.  Anyone can be trained on juice and coffee but you can’t easily train someone to not be a jerk.

***

Nominate someone from your community for the Patch Across the Counter interview. Send suggestions to kathleen@patch.com.

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