Posted by Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) on July 2nd, 2008 at 2:24 pm
It’s been just over a year since Clever Cycles open their doors in Southeast Portland, and now they’ll be closing them.
Co-owner Todd Fahrner says that a lack of business is not in the problem. In fact, it’s just the opposite.
During a recent visit to the shop Fahrner said the issue has been too much business, and not enough product to sell. Looking a bit bleary-eyed and overworked, he said their first year of sales far exceeded their expectations and they are sold out of many of their most popular products — the same products that helped them create an enviable niche for utility, cargo and family cycling in Portland.
In a post to their shop’s blog yesterday, Fahrner wrote that they’ll close from July 28th to August 11th and that they’re sold out (or close to selling out) of many products including; Bakfietsen (Dutch cargo bikes), Xtracycles, Bobike child carriers, some Brompton folding bike models, Retrovelos (cool new German vintage/urban cruisers), and others.
Clever Cycles has created a niche by stocking items from Europe that are not available anywhere else in the country. Fahrner says that’s part of the problem as well. In addition to some of their suppliers being sold out, others are, “simply too far away for timely resupply.”
During the closure, Fahrner — who owns the shop with his wife Martina Fahrner and friends Dean and Rachel Mullin and — says they plan to rest, improve some of their internal processes, train new employees, and do some R&D on Stokemonkey, Fahrner’s electric assist product that has taken a back-seat since he jumped into the retail business.
Are high gas prices to blame? Fahrner writes that,
“We are reluctant to present bicycling for transportation as a response to hardship, because it is a pleasure and privilege. But gas prices are on so many lips, we can’t pretend that they have nothing to do with this year’s wonderful business.”
[Disclaimer: Clever Cycles is an advertiser on BikePortland.org (which is probably the main reason behind their business boom ;-)).]