5 things you didn’t know about JIM BALLARDBy NIKKI ROWELL,
He has been in business in Ridgeland for the past 45 years. He previously worked as a pharmacist. He has lived an active life of running, biking and more for 50 years. He likes to write, mostly for social media. He considers himself a history buff and spends a lot of time reading books on historical figures.
An avid outdoorsman, Jim Ballard left behind his pharmacy career to pursue his passion and open four businesses centered around his favorite pastimes.
The Bay Springs native, along with his partner Tom Martin, worked as pharmacists at Hinds General Hospital until they opened their first store in 1973. They now own the Bike Rack, Indian Cycle, Indian Fitness, and Sportique.
“We worked part time in pharmacy and part time in business when we first opened, and then we went full time into the business and expanded our location from our small space in south Jackson to a bigger space,” Ballard said.
They built their own place on Robinson Road in 1976.
In 1986 they opened Bike Rack north. Then, they bought Indian Cycle. In 2002, they purchased Sportique.
“Right now, we own the Bike Rack, Indian Cycle, Indian Fitness, and Sportique,” Ballard said.
These four businesses are all part of Bike Rack Incorporated, which covers everything from swimwear to pro-level bicycles.
Ballard has been in business for 45 years, even though that was not his original plan. He earned his degree in pharmacy at Samford University.
“The main reason we opened it is because my partner and I had a passion for cycling, and we didn’t feel like we were getting the products and services in this area that we should get,” Ballard said. “So, we saw a need for that. Different products, better products, and better service.”
So, they set up shop and have been at it ever since.
“We took that in mind and decided we were going to provide outstanding service, outstanding assembly. Basically, it comes down to, ‘What they’re doing, we think we can do better,’ ” he said of their decision to open.
He loves running, hiking, biking, swimming and more.
“I’m involved in the physical life,” Ballard said.
Ballard said he has done it all at various levels at different times, including competitions, racing, marathon running, and triathlons.
His experience is what he says makes him good at running these businesses. His stores offer complete lines of bikes, parts, and accessories, in addition to many services.
They can help with everything from fixing a simple flat tire to helping build a custom bike.
Bikes have to be sized and adjusted for each person. Ballard said his experience has helped him to be able to adjust the bike without having to measure someone.
They can also help with finding the right bike.
Those starting out will want an entry level bike. Those who ride for years work their way into creating their own custom bikes.
Ballard said it all comes down to asking the right questions and really listening to the customer.
He can help pick the perfect bike by finding out information, such as where the customer intends to ride the bike, how far they want to go, what bikes they like and their price point.
“We have a complete spectrum of bikes, along with clothing, helmets, and gloves,” Ballard said.
They also sell all types of fitness equipment, and gear ranging from swimwear to ski wear.