Doug Zell

BUILDING A CULTURE

“Do it with conviction” — a compelling mantra you’ll hear often from HIA Velo’s co-founder Doug Zell.  Doug founded Intelligentsia Coffee in 1995.  At a time when coffee was conventional, Intelligentsia shook the mainstream American coffee experience by exposing people to a new culture of coffee drinking — one that valued the coffee’s origin, as well as the effort and care it takes to produce a delectable beverage.  From thoughtful producers, careful roasters, and finally a skilled barista, a whole team of craftsmen and women labor together to make the most delicious cup of coffee possible.

Doug brings that same conviction to HIA Velo, the company he co-founded with the intent to evolve cycling culture along a similar vein as Intelligentsia: “There was a time when people said great coffee couldn’t be roasted in America. What Intelligentsia did for coffee was to change what people thought was possible about coffee.  I have that same perspective regarding HIA Velo.  I think we’re going to change what people think is possible with bikes made in the US.”

While some are happy with status quo, Doug and the team at HIA Velo are in quest of creating a new brand for bike manufacturing — one that pushes the continuum.  The coffee and bike businesses parallel each other in significant ways; instead of roasters and baristas, there are engineers and fabricators.  However, Doug’s team mentality toward creating the best product possible remains the same. “Chasing perfection is terribly elusive,” he admits, “but nonetheless the pursuit drives you to do it better than yesterday.”