In each Power Couple Profile you will meet a couple that inspires us to grow stronger together. Our goal is to learn from these incredible people and share their unique stories and experiences with our readers. If you know a power couple we should connect with, don’t hesitate to drop us a line!
I’ve known Micki for years through the flatland BMX scene and met Charles once when he was at a contest with Micki while they were still just friends. Fast forward a few years and the friends found romance, got married, and started a business together. Their story is a perfect example of an American dream success, and their interview has a ton of insight and great takeaways!
Names: Charles and Micki Syndram
Ages: 31 and 29
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
Occupations: Owners of INRUSHbicycles
Best friends and coworkers for two years, dated for one year and five months, and now married for two and a half years.
How did you meet?
We met many years ago when I (Micki) went to the bike shop Charles worked at to pick up some parts for my BMX bike—I’d say around 2005. I remember this day much clearer than he does, haha.
What makes you a Powr Cupl?
I think what makes us a Powr Cupl is we are able to do something most people can’t do, and most don’t want to do, and that is spend 24 hours a day, 7 days a week together. We are complete opposites personality wise, and I think that is what makes it work. We run our business with such flow it never once feels like work. We have our disagreements, but we never fight over it. Disagreements usually lead us to the creativity of awesome things that we combine together. We both know we have certain rolls to fill and we just fill them. We also both have a drive for BMX and cycling as well as living well and eating well. Our lifestyle just molds together and we drive off of each other.
What is your love language? Give an example of how your partner expresses that to you.
Micki: My love language is “words of affirmation” and Charles nails this one on the head. I am pretty sure a day hasn’t gone by since we have known each other that he hasn’t told me I am beautiful or that he loves me. I’m not one for gifts—I’m pretty cheap, haha. But really, money can’t buy compassion.
Charles: My language (according to the quiz, haha) is “physical touch”. I said that to Micki and she laughed. I would say it is pretty right. I am constantly going over to her through the day saying I think you need a hug. Well apparently it is me that wants/needs those hugs. She does say that when I say it to her. It’s all the little touches through the day that matter. Walking arm in arm or hand in hand, that’s my stuff right there!
How do you hope to inspire other couples?
Micki: I just hope we can break the stigma that you CAN achieve your dreams WITH your husband/wife, and you CAN have the same dreams.
Charles: I want to encourage others to just follow their dreams. I have known from a child what I wanted to do and followed that. Do what you are passionate about and you will be happy everyday. It was a huge risk for us to pursue this dream and put everything on the line, but I knew God would steer us in the right direction on our journey.
Can you describe a difficult time in your relationship and how you overcame the hardship?
Micki: That’s a tough one… We have had hardship, but it hasn’t managed to effect our relationship. We have learned to keep the negative and bad vibes out. I’d say the lowest point has been the mass disapproval on how we choose to live our lives and the amount of family/friends who we branched away from because of it. Owning a business changes a lot of things. It’s like raising a kid—it can consume you at times. Not everyone is okay with that. We decided in the beginning that as long as we have each other we will be A-okay.
Charles: We really have not hit what I would call a lowest point, but we have had some hard or rough times. I would say from my standpoint it has been myself changing and family members not liking the changes. I am focused on Micki and myself, and not my whole family. That is a big issue with my family because family comes first and blood is thicker than water to them. We live very simple and keep to ourselves—that is just how we roll.
What is the best investment you have made in your relationship?
Micki: 100% communication, I am horrible at opening up, but when you love someone, you let them in. I do my very best to keep completely open with Charles, and also listen to him when he needs me.
Charles: Communication, communication, and need I say it again? Communication!
What is the key to a strong and successful relationship?
Micki: Taking the “me, myself, and I’s” out and making it about the other person. Not making rules, instructions, and guidelines. If you love each other, respect each other, and trust each other it will work. And most importantly, you are ALWAYS working on bettering your relationship.
Charles: Being on the same page, hahaha. What I mean by that is communicate, be unselfish, understand each other, and wanting similar out of life. Life will always throw curve balls at us, but we are on the same page all the time, and that has been what makes us strong and successful.
Just a Cupl More…
Give us a quick rundown of your business and what your rolls are within it…
We own and operate INRUSHbicycles, a complete service and sales bicycle shop here in Fort Wayne, Indiana. We are just three and a half years into it and already have managed to move to the top two bicycle shops here in town, out of six total—a very proud moment for us. We sell all new bikes and work on anything new or old. Charles is a mechanic as well as a salesperson and handles all the inventory and ordering, along with managing our website. Oh, and he makes some bomb coffee! . I, (Micki) am also a mechanic and do sales and I handle all of the book keeping and accounting, along with managing our social media.
Both of you ride BMX, but different disciplines… For those who aren’t familiar with BMX, can you explain what kind of riding you both do?
I (Micki) ride flatland, and that consists basically of doing tricks on flat ground without any obstacles or ramps. Parking lots are my jam, haha. Charles rides mainly street, and that consists of grinding on ledges and rails, using the surrounding environment like curbs and concrete gaps and inclines to do tricks off of. Or as he would say, “stunts and maneuvers.”
Knowing that you have different styles of riding, do you enjoy riding together? Or do you keep that separate? What do your sessions look like these days?
Actually, we love riding together. Neither of us are “spot hoppers”. We like to find a place to ride and just stick with it. And when we both ride it’s earbuds in and push hard…we get in our own bubbles and just go. Charles has been pushing his limits hard lately—it’s pretty awesome how he’s progressed this year. I’ve had some setbacks with ear surgeries and my equilibrium, but I think without my bike I probably wouldn’t even be able to balance on two feet. It’s the best therapy out there.
What was the conversation like when you decided to open a business together?
Oh man, that’s a crazy one. It was the fastest, most nerve-racking decision we have ever made. We began planning and started our business in less than three3 months. (I don’t suggest that to anyone, haha.) We were put in a situation where I was out of work and it was a “now or never” sort of thing. We both looked at each other and said, “Is this what we want to do?”, and from there it just went into motion. We never looked back and have no regrets. Where there is a will, there is a way, and we knew it wouldn’t be easy. Other than our house we sold everything. The only car we had left and our house were on the line if anything went wrong. It certainly lights a fire when you have everything to lose.
Knowing that most small business fail within the first 18 months, what was the driving force behind pushing past that to open your bike shop?
Honestly, we didn’t even have time to think about that when we were planning to open, and it’s probably a good thing. The first two years were HARD. That’s when you make all of your bad decisions and learn the most lessons. Thankfully, we survived, and those lessons were needed. They teach you far more than business college ever would have. Owning a bike shop in Indiana is even more challenging than the average small business because, it’s a seasonal job here. You have to know money management like you never have before. In six months of business you have to save for 12 months of bills, to put it into perspective.
What was a mistake you made before you opened the shop that you learned from?
Definitely working with family. Emotional ties are not good to mix with business. Personal and business always have to be separate. We learned a valuable lesson that created a lot of heartache, but we definitely learned from that.
What has been a mistake you have made since you’ve been opened?
Budget, budget, budget! Nailing down the budget the first two years was the most intense, hair-pulling, teeth-grinding thing we have made mistakes on. It’s easy to have $10k in the bank and go, “We can get in some more product, or tools, or make shop improvements.”, and forget you NEED that money to get through the winter. Thankfully, we always want to spend money on improving the shop, so it’s investing money in the right places, but it’s knowing when the budget is correct before investing and, boy, have we learned! Now, it just seems to flows with ease.
How do you “clock out” of the business to set aside time for each other?
One word, CHARLES. Charles is carefree; I am a worrier, a thinker, and stress case. Charles is work at work, play at play, and home at home. He keeps me in line and that is key to what makes this work. You HAVE TO separate work from home, otherwise you just become coworkers and roommates. We make sure we go on dates and bike rides and things you do as couples. It’s so important to keep romance alive no matter what, but even more so especially in a 24/7 relationship lifestyle.
With a bike shop as your business and BMX as your hobby, do you ever feel like you need to get away from bicycles?
Another tough question, can we answer it with yes and no? Haha. We don’t ever really “get tired of bicycles”, but we do have other hobbies we like to partake in to keep our sanity. Charles enjoys archery—a lot of times in our back yard, haha. And I love gardening, so, that has consumed our entire front yard. It’s pretty awesome being able to have fresh fruits and veggies from your own yard. We also enjoy shooting photos and filming. That’s something else that is really fun to do together. We really don’t have many dull moments here, haha.