LSU Online CM Student Shows Entrepreneurial Side Amidst Pandemic
December 14, 2021
BATON ROUGE, LA – For better or worse, the Covid-19 pandemic changed the trajectory of many people’s professional lives. Some people opted to work from home or even retire, while others sought out a new career or started their own business.
In 2020, Tami Manofsky and her husband Daniel closed the doors of their family-owned furniture store, Keagan Ross Furniture, in Hoover, Ala., when the price of lumber nearly tripled and it became impossible to turn a profit. It was a time of uncertainty for the couple, but Daniel began to kill time and make money by fixing bikes for people in the community.
“During the pandemic, there were so many people riding bikes,” Manofsky said. “My husband has known how to fix bikes for a long time, so he began doing that for the people in our community of Greystone, and the customers just kept coming in. So, we thought we should look into opening a bike shop.”
Manofsky also wanted to go back to school because she says she became bored during the pandemic and found that reading kept her mind stimulated while homeschooling her daughter, Olivia.“I love to learn,” Manofsky said. “I loved engineering and design, but I didn’t explore it until now.”
Manofsky transferred her credits from a previous university in Cincinnati, her hometown, and enrolled in LSU Online’s Construction Management courses. Little did she know that her engineering education would overlap with her new business venture.
“Everything I was learning in construction management, like where the builders park their lumber, was happening at exactly the same time as the building of my shop,” she said. “I designed the whole shop myself and did the plans, which is cool because I’m learning a lot in my classes about business and engineering. You learn about materials, marketing and the business side of things. I’ve learned a lot as a business owner and someone who wants to build more businesses.”
After a year of developing the plans, construction began on the bike shop in January 2021. The Manofskys named the bike shop Anatole’s, which means “sunrise” and “from the East,” and is also the name of a former skateboarder friend of Manofsky’s.
“The name just stuck,” she said.
Anatole’s repairs and sells bikes. Manofsky wants her store to be diverse, a place where anyone can come in and buy a bike at any price. They sell high-end bikes like Trek, Jamis, and Rad Power Bikes (electric), as well as more affordable brands such as BMX and Sun Bicycles. The store is also a dealer for Fox Racing.
“Since bikes are in short supply right now, we’ve sold a lot of skateboards and we’ve only been open a week,” Manofsky said.
Anatole’s also sells skateboard brands Baker, Almost, Bones and Meow, and surfboard brand Liquid Shredder. They also carry wakeboards and Cosmic roller skates.
“My daughter is a skateboarder (and cheerleader) and likes to paint her own skateboards, so we’ll have an area in our shop where kids can design their own skateboard on an iPad or tablet, and then we can produce the image on the board,” Manofsky said.
To cater to even more residents in the Greystone community, Anatole’s sells boutique items such as handbags, candles, Granola Girl soap, and other fair-trade items. Anatole’s will also sell Panama Jack and Salt Life items, both contracts Manofsky said she worked hard to get.
The store’s grand opening will take place sometime this month, Manofsky said, although they are already seeing people lined up to enter the store each morning.
“We have such a variety of people coming in,” she said. “We had an 80-year-old gentleman come in just wanting to get his bike pedal fixed. We’ve also had a lot of mountain bike coaches who come in and send their students here for bike repairs.”
Although business will undoubtedly take off once the store receives its full shipment of supplies, Manofsky has plans beyond just sales.
“What I want to do with this shop is raise money to build a community center,” she said. “I have goals. I want to build a community. There is no public swimming here, for instance. The kids aren’t getting a lot of recreation. I feel like there need to be more opportunities.”
The Manofskys are starting off by sponsoring a skate park in Hoover that will be built by Skate Alabama in the near future.
“It’s going to be really big and nice,” she said. “There are no skate parks around here right now.”
Manofsky credits her CM education at LSU for helping her achieve her goal of building a bike shop and hopes to earn her Master’s in Civil Engineering as part of LSU Online.
“I’m learning so much to become a better businesswoman,” she said. “Owning a business as a woman is also great because I know it’s sometimes hard to do.”
To learn more about Anatole’s, visit them on Instagram (@anatolesbikeskatesurf) and on Facebook (search Anatole’s Bike Skate Surf).
Contact: Libby Haydel