Local Company ‘Scoots’ Its Way Into Business Hall of Fame
26 Feb 2020
Electric scooters for adults are gaining popularity in cities around the world, where millennials are choosing this form of transportation for its low cost and energy-saving benefits.
And although there are just a few scooters zipping down the streets of Holdrege, a local company is one of the leading sellers of li-ion powered adult electric scooters on Amazon.
Glion Electric Scooters was at the forefront of producing electric scooters for adults and has a patent on its Dolly foldable electric scooter. The company is owned by Holdrege resident Robert McCormick and his business partners Jeff Kong and Wei Chang, who live in the Chicago area.
Glion has doubled its sales each year since its 2014 Kickstarter campaign to launch the business and now employs 10 full and part-time employees at its downtown Holdrege service center in the F. Johnson Building.
Because of the entrepreneurial spirit of the Glion’s owners, its international partnership, and its quickly growing nationwide customer base and dealer network, the Phelps County Development Corporation has chosen it as a 2020 Business Hall of Fame honoree.
“Robert McCormick has taken a big leap of faith in his entrepreneurial effort at Glion,” PCDC Executive Director Ron Tillery said. “The high-tech micro mobility product exemplifies the creativity and ingenuity of our region. It is a perfect example of a local entrepreneurial company.”
McCormick said he is “shocked and humbled” by the honor.
He said the business was “totally a leap of faith.”
“Doubling our revenue every year has been a critical and important success,” McCormick said. “The Glion Dolly electric scooter is recognized as a top commuter scooter on Amazon. Amazon is an amazing but competitive platform. You have to earn your success on it each and every day.”
McCormick, who has family roots deep in Holdrege, earned a law degree but has always had an interest in business.
“Sometimes I wonder if it’s a gift or a curse,” McCormick said of his entrepreneurial spirit. “But it is what it is. When I went to law school, it was always about business. That was always the end. I find the process of creating something from largely nothing intriguing.”
McCormick and his business partner, Jeff Kong, met when they were both working on a solar energy project for clients in California. They both share a passion for business and a concern for climate change. They wanted to create a product using a lithium-ion battery.
They found their niche in a foldable electric scooter for adults. Luckily, in the past few years, electric scooter rentals have been booming in major cities around the country. That trend has fueled the desire for more people to purchase their own electric scooters, and since Glion has been in the market for six years now, the company is catching a great share of sales.
Glion also produces a three-wheeled foldable SNAPnGO Electric Travel Mobility Scooter that has a seat and appeals to the 55 and older population.
Both products are engineered and manufactured in China, where Jeff and Wei grew up. The scooters are then shipped and stored in Los Angeles until they are ordered. Most of the sales originate on Amazon, as well as the company website www.glion-scooter.com.
The administrative, customer service, marketing and repair operations are based out of Holdrege, where the employee base has been rapidly expanding the past few years.
“We’re really pleased with the people we have been able to add on our team here and the skills they bring to the table,” McCormick said.
The company’s rapid growth has not been without some major speed bumps, including the recent tariffs and an Amazon sales tax issue, but being a business owner requires getting up, working on the problem and finding solutions.
“Honestly, I have had more than my share of sleepless nights. The key is not to hit the panic button when something goes wrong,” McCormick said. “You just have to put on your tool belt and work the problem.”
McCormick said his goal for the business in the next several years is to continue to get better every day. “I would like it to be difficult to go to a major city and not see our product. It can happen now, but you need to be a little lucky.”
“This business is dynamic, hardware is unforgiving, and we are constantly skating on thin ice,” he said. “We just have to keep getting better.”
And, while the partners recognize they might be more proximate to their customers locating in California or a larger city, he also has a strong desire to help his community.
“I’ve got deep family roots in this community,” he said. “When it comes to Holdrege, it gets personal. I care a lot about this town. It is an amazing community and has been very good to me, giving me many amazing opportunities to get involved. It is part of my motivation to create a little business that brings new money into the community. That’s what Holdrege needs to grow, and fortunately I have partners who have a heart for Holdrege as well.”
Glion will be recognized and inducted into the Phelps County Business Hall of Fame at PCDC’s annual meeting on March 19. The event is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased for $35 each in advance by calling PCDC at (308) 995-4148. Tickets will be $40 at the door.