Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on March 27th, 2013 at 1:46 pm
Southeast Portland’s Hawthorne Blvd is a destination for fashion lovers. Now it’s also home to Joe Bike Apparel, a new boutique devoted solely to stylish cycling.
Joe Bike Apparel, which opened its doors at 3953 SE Hawthorne on March 19th, is the latest business foray by bicycling entrepreneur Joe Doebele. You might remember Doebele as the guy who created the Shuttlebug cargo bike back in 2010. That project helped establish the Joe Bike retail shop which used to be in the location where Joe Bike Apparel is now.
Seeking to expand from the tiny, 630 square-foot Hawthorne location, in January Doebele moved his shop to a location over twice that size at 2039 SE Cesar Chavez Blvd (at SE Lincoln). He held on to the Hawthorne location, but wasn’t sure what he should do with it.
“After we moved,” he shared when I visited yesterday, “We knew we could to anything we wanted to with this space. We wanted to do something different and new.” The initial idea was to make it a basic commuter station with tubes and accessories. Doebele and his staffers also considered setting up the shop as touring outfitter.
The idea for a clothing boutique came after an epiphany by Joe Bike mechanic Krishna Muirhead. Muirhead was on a bike tour in and around Puget Sound when he rolled by Hub and Bespoke, a bike apparel store in Seattle. “He thought, why don’t we do this?” recalled Doebele. A few days (and a business plan) later, Doebele and his staff had lined up 15 fashion-related wholesale accounts and Joe Bike Apparel was born. They also spent two months doing a floor-to-ceiling remodel that transformed the space from greasy bike shop to a clean and tidy boutique, complete with a leather couch and fastidious window displays.
Joe Bike Apparel is just the latest sign of the bike fashion revolution sweeping the industry. Going way beyond spandex and neon jackets, stylish bike clothing is a response to the rapid growth of cycling — and the changing face of the people doing it — in cities across America. With his new shop, Doebele wanted to connect some of the new clothing brands out there, with the many people who don’t know about them yet.
Doebele didn’t know much about bike fashion either until relatively recently. “I’ve been the guy who went to an event and had to go immediately to the bathroom to get changed out of my ‘bike clothes’. No one should have to do that.”
To make Joe Bike Apparel work, Doebele looked to hire fashion experts, not “cyclists.” Employee Max Siegfried is a self-described “fashion enthusiast” who’s more comfortable around the latest bamboo and wool fabrics than gear-ratios and carbon fiber. Another employee, Moira Wheeler, is a fashion designer who responded to Doebele’s help-wanted ad that was looking for a “bike fashionista.”
If you’re looking to spruce up your bike style and get more comfortable while riding, Joe Bike Apparel is worth a visit. You’ll find brands (most of them made in North America) like: Swrve, Club Ride, Riyoko Urban Bikewear, SAHN Helmets, Loeka, Sheila Moon, Po Campo, Mission Workshop, DZR Shoes and more.
Check out more product photos below…
Joe Bike Apparel is open from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm every day of the week. Check them out online at Joe-Bike.com.