Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on October 28th, 2010 at 10:33 am
(Photo © J. Maus)
If all goes according to plan, a major new bike shop will open in downtown Portland just in time for the holiday season. Mark Ontiveros (formerly the head buyer for River City Bicycles) and Mike France (a former customer and now friend of Mark's) are partners in West End Bikes. They've begun a complete renovation of the old Djangos Records building on the northwest corner of SW Stark and 11th on the confluence of a streetcar line (on 11th) and a buffered bike lane (on Stark).
I stopped by the shop this morning and chatted with Mike and Mark about their new venture.
West End Bikes will be a Specialized Concept Store. Concept stores are so-named because they include the manufacturer (Specialized in this case) as an investor in the shop and the product mix tilts heavily toward one manufacturer (Trek also has a concept store program). Specialized currently has 29 concept stores in the U.S.. This would be the first in Oregon.
The new shop will be able to carry a wide range of products due to its 4,300 square feet of main showroom space, a 500 square foot loft for bike fits, and a 2,500 square foot basement for storage. The interior is very open, has multiple levels, lots of natural light, and should be perfect for a bike shop.
do the space justice.
While West End will include a lot of the Specialized and Globe (their urban line) bikes, they will also carry other brands. Co-owner Mike France mentioned they will carry road bikes from legendary Italian brand Wilier, but wanted to keep other brands secret for now. In addition to serving the high-end road market, France said the shop "will concentrate on the urban market." Specialized's Globe brand will allow them to do that, as will Ontiveros' 15 years of experience as head buyer at River City Bicycles.
While at River City, Ontiveros (he was a 10% owner in the business, and he left back in June) built up a reputation for stocking one of the largest selections of women's clothing and non-lycra bike apparel in the country (in 2008, Bicycle Retailer and Industry News named River City the most female-friendly bike shop in America).
Ontiveros told me this morning he also plans to stock mountain bikes, in part because his 12 year old son loves riding off-road. Ontiveros is a regular at local cyclocross and mountain bike races and plans to "sell what we love."
With three hotels (Ace, Mark Spencer, and McMenamins coming soon) nearby, lots of foot traffic, and being at the intersection of a major bikeway and a streetcar line, the future for this shop looks very bright. We'll keep you posted on developments and stay tuned for the grand opening announcement!