Father and son are now also business neighbors
Mitch and David Pelsue, owners of BEAM Orthodontics and Cyclebar at Hilldale respectively, may not work together, but working right next door offers the father-son duo a lot of personal and professional perks.
Most days, father and son Mitch and David Pelsue are never more than 20 feet away from each other, despite owning and operating two entirely different businesses.
That’s because the two are next-door neighbors at Hilldale Shopping Center on Madison’s west side.
Dr. Mitchell Pelsue, D.D.S., is owner of BEAM Orthodontics and right next door his son, David, owns and operates Cyclebar Hilldale.
BEAM Orthodontics is a specialist orthodontic boutique and Madison’s first Invisalign-only facility. Cyclebar is an indoor cycling studio that provides a high-energy, full-body workout in a unique theater-like space.
The younger Pelsue also owns the Capitol East and Brookfield Cyclebar franchises, while father Mitch has operated Pelsue Orthodontics in Janesville for 34 years.
The unique arrangement — both businesses opened earlier this year — was spurred by a career change for David.
David Pelsue attended UW–Madison and graduated in 2010 with a major in political science and minor in business. He attended law school at Chicago-Kent College of Law from 2011–2014, after which he passed the bar in Illinois and practiced corporate law at a large law firm in Chicago for about three years.
“Although I was quite happy with the work and my firm, I always wanted to run my own business,” says David. “Having taken so many indoor cycling classes at various places in Chicago, I knew that I loved this form of working out. When Cyclebar came across my radar, it just felt right. It combined my desire for running my own business with a workout I was passionate about.”
David says even after moving away for law school, he always knew he wanted to end up back in Madison someday. “When I decided to pursue the opportunity to open a Cyclebar, Madison was the first place that came to mind.”
But could he find the right spot?
Mitch has run his own orthodontic practice in Janesville for more than three decades. Prior to that, he received his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from Northwestern University in 1978.
Upon graduation from dental school, he joined the U.S. Navy as a dental officer and served for four years on active duty. After his tour of duty was over, he went back to school for a two-year residency in orthodontics at Loyola University of Chicago, from which he received his Specialty in Orthodontics degree in 1984. Shortly thereafter, Mitch moved his family to Janesville to open an orthodontic practice, which another son, Brian, joined in 2008.
“Having grown up watching my father run his own business for over 30 years, I knew that I eventually would follow in his footsteps in some way or another,” says David. “Seeing as I didn’t go into the orthodontic business, I was looking for other opportunities to do so. Cyclebar provided me with that opportunity in an industry that has significant upside potential and provides a great service to the local community.”
When David was looking for locations for a Cyclebar on the west side of Madison, Hilldale was his first choice. It had everything he was looking for — from the actual location relative to campus and the rest of the west side, to the overall energy and vibe of the shopping center. However, when he settled on a space at Hilldale, it became apparent that it was a little too big for just him.
The only space available was 3,800 square feet and David only needed 2,500 square feet for Cyclebar. “After discussing my options with my father, he brought up the idea of opening an Invisalign-only, boutique orthodontist studio in the extra space,” notes David. “I know it was an idea he had toyed with for a while, and this sort of gave him the extra push to take that concept from just an idea to reality.”
“I had been noticing a growing trend in the orthodontic practice business model, which was a more consumer driven model versus a provider model,” explains Mitch. “Today’s busy consumers, whether it be a working mom with school-age children or a millennial spending long hours on the job, are all looking for businesses that offer high quality, convenience, and affordability. I observed orthodontic business models on the West and East Coasts that catered to this demographic, and I decided it would be a great fit for Madison, as well. So, I offered to take up the extra 1,300 square feet that Cyclebar didn’t use to open Beam Orthodontic Specialists.”
While only working next to each other for a few months so far, Mitch and David say the arrangement has been a perfect fit for both personally and professionally.
“When David was working as an attorney in Chicago, we were lucky to see each other every three to four months,” says Mitch. “Now we see each other three to four times a week. We talk business almost every day and discuss how our two businesses can support each other. For instance, David is supporting my ‘Smilestars’ [employees] with complimentary cycling classes, and I’m providing his ‘Cyclestars’ with complimentary teeth whitening. Both staffs are loving this unexpected benefit!”
“Considering the first Cyclebar class is usually around 5:15 or 5:30 a.m., our first interaction of the day always centers around coffee, at least for me,” notes David. “Given the flexible nature of each of our businesses, we get to interact whenever we want. Of course, we are only about 20 feet from each other all day, but we get to decide when we need a break and to catch 10 minutes of fresh air. Although we are just starting out, we have some great plans to work together on a professional level. Given our locations, we certainly share some of the same clientele.”
David says it’s nice being able to lean on one another if either father or son needs something. “While I am usually on the receiving end of advice, I can definitely say that having my father so close has been a major part of our initial success. Given his experience of running his own business for over 30 years, I find myself coming to him for advice on a daily basis. Whether it be the mundane daily tasks of which payroll company to use or which tax filings to make, or the big-picture strategy of marketing and business growth, I always know that the advice I am getting is objective and based in solid experience.”
Mitch says the most important business advice he’s passed on to his son is to treat his team members like gold. “They are the face of your business and they will be the ones that will create referrals and repeat business,” he notes.
David also exchanged some sage advice with his father. “He told me to hang in there,” says Mitch. “Starting a business from scratch is hard work, so [I shouldn’t] expect it to happen overnight. My practice in Janesville has been so busy for so long that I had forgotten how much time, effort, and investment is needed to start a new business!”
Both father and son view the neighborly setup as a long-term arrangement.
“The great thing about being my father’s son is that I know wherever things take us we will make the decision of what to do next together,” says David. “While each of us alone can do well, together we can do great things.”
“I think we’re going to stay where we are for quite some time,” continues Mitch. “We’ve both made a big investment in our facilities.”
“Almost to a rehearsed level, everyone we talk to about Beam and Cyclebar think it is awesome,” says David. “Everyone has been extremely supportive and loves to talk about it. It takes a lot of effort to launch one business, let alone four in four months [including David’s two other Cyclebar franchises]. We simply could not have done it without the support from everyone.”
“I’ve been blessed,” Mitch adds. “Getting an opportunity to work closely with both my sons is incredibly serendipitous. At a time when most of my friends and contemporary family members are retiring, I’m just gearing up. The rewards of both working closely with David, as well as offering a unique service to the Madison community, far outweigh any time I might spend on the golf course or trying to find something to do with my time.”
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