There’s only one constant in Portland’s bike shop ecosystem: change.
With about 70 or so bike retail shops in the city boundary, hundreds of employees constantly switching between them, and an ever-changing market of bicycle riders, we need a full-time business editor on staff here at BikePortland just to keep up.
In the meantime, I’ve cobbled together several weeks of notes and emails to bring you the latest local bike shop news…
Bike ‘N Hike closes Portland store
One of Portland’s largest shops, Bike ‘N Hike, is closing. The 7,500 square foot store at SE Grand and Oak is having a big inventory closeout sale through the end of this month, then Portland will be without a Bike ‘N Hike location for the first time in over a decade. Owner Kevin Chudy will still operate his five other locations throughout the state (in Albany, Corvallis, Beaverton, Milwaukie, and Hillsboro).
Chudy said he was forced to close the Portland store because his lease was up for renewal and declining sales would simply not support the location. He plans to “sit out” the upcoming Fall/Winter season (which is typically very slow for bike shops) and “look for other opportunities.” Chudy says he’s actively looking for a better location and would like to re-open in March 2015.
Rolling Wrench mobile shop goes brick-and-mortar with Holy Spokes!
After two years of growing his mobile bike shop business, Rolling Wrench owner Tim Ennis is expanding with his first brick-and-mortar location. The new shop will be called Holy Spokes! and will be located at 3050 SE Division, in the “D Street Village” building.
We profiled Ennis and Rolling Wrench when he first opened in July 2012. Since then he’s towed his bike repair trailer to all sorts of events and has worked on bike repair contracts for Nike, Keen Footwear, and other companies throughout the area. Ennis says he plans to maintain the mobile repair business. “I think there are a lot of ways that the brick and mortar will complement Rolling Wrench, allowing us to offer some unique services,” he shared with us via email this morning. “Our main focus will be on commuters – extended hours, fast turnaround and a few other things convenient to daily riders and carfree families.”
Ennis says his grand opening is planned for August 24th, which is the same date as the Southeast Portland Sunday Parkways.
Upcycles moving to larger space
Woodlawn residents will be happy to know that Upcycles is moving to a larger space. The tiny shop that used to be just west of Woodlawn Park on NE Dekum is moving two doors down, says co-owner Kai Druzdezel. The new location will be on the corner of Dekum and Oneonta Street, kitty-corner from popular eatery Breakside Brewing.
Here’s more from Druzdezel: “It’s a much bigger and more visible space, and I plan on expanding all of my offerings, including new and used bikes, parts, accessories, and services.”
The new Upcycles space will open this Sunday, July 27th during the Northeast Sunday Parkways event. Stop in and say hi when you roll by!
Performance closes store near Providence Park
Another major store that has closed its doors is Performance Bicycle. The national chain with over 100 stores in 20 states has given up on their location at 1736 SW Alder (near 18th and Burnside).
We noticed the “For Lease” up over the weekend and a phone call to that location was picked up by an employee in the company’s Mall 205 store. The employee told us Performance is hoping to open a new location closer to downtown Portland, ideally on the east side of I-405. He blamed poor sales at the Burnside location to a lack of parking, high crime, and the “cavernous” feeling of the building. The employee said talks of a new Portland location are just rumors at this point, but he’s hopeful one will be found in order to maintain jobs that were put in jeopardy with the closure.
Mountain Shop now offers a ‘bikepacking studio’
The popularity of bikepacking in this region is leading to more signs of its strength as a serious market segment. Its gotten so big that Mountain Shop, a local outdoor store, now has an “Adventure Bike Studio.” It makes sense, given that bikepacking is really just backpacking with a bike..
Mountain Shop employee Lisa Luna got in touch with us recently to share the news. She said the shop now rents out full adventure biking kits with bikes from Salsa, bags from Revelate, and an assortment of ultralight camping gear. Luna says they’ve event set up group rides with a courtesy shuttle van.
Check out their Adventure Bike Studio page for more info and stop in to see their selection.
The Bike Commuter moves to larger space
The Bike Commuter in Sellwood is making a big move to a space that’s four times the size of the current shop. Owner Eric Deady says the new location at the corner of SE 17th and Clatsop will allow him to expand into more of a “loungey and comfortable” vibe. With a liquor license on the way, beer will be a new addition to the mix as well. This is the third move for The Bike Commuter since they opened in January 2010 on the corner of SE 13th and Umatilla.
Reached by phone today, Deady said moving into a larger space is all part of his grand plan to create more of a gathering space where he can hold clinics and have room for customers to hang out on couches, tables, and chairs. “We’re still a bike shop first and foremost,” he said, “we’re just adding that other component… a more loungey atmosphere, a comfortable place to absorb the culture of what it means to be a bike shop.”
Deady and his crew are doing a major renovation of the new space and he doesn’t expect it to open until September 1st. He’s posting photos of the demolition and construction on the shop’s Facebook page. The Bike Commuter will remain open in its current location until the new space opens.
Moberi Smoothies is coming to West End Bikes
Moberi Smoothies is a local, bike-blended smoothie business that’s on the rise. The company’s latest move is to open its first brick-and-mortar location inside West End Bikes at SW 11th and Stark. West End previously leased out the café space on the eastern side of its shop (that opens onto 11th) to two coffee businesses.
Moberi owner Ryan Carpenter, who already operates smoothie carts on N Mississippi Ave and NW 23rd, says he’s planning a big opening celebration this Saturday (7/26). At the event he’ll have extra bikes for blending smoothies, Polaroid photo ops, and free t-shirts to the first 10 customers who blend their own drinks.
Former Velo Cult employees open Cat Six Bicycles & Repair
Cat Six is a new shop on NE 42nd (at Alberta Ct) that was just opened a few weeks ago by two former employees of Velo Cult.
Jonathan Scarboro and Kirk Bernhardt met while working as mechanics in the uber-popular Hollywood store and they became roommates last August. The way Scarboro tells the story, he and Bernhardt passed by a vacant storefront with a “For Lease” sign on their way into work every day. “We kept talking about what a great place it would be for a bike shop,” he shared via email with us this week. “Right off the Going St/Alberta Ct bicycle byway. In an under-served area with a ton of cyclists. Not too small, not too large -1,500 square feet.”
Six months later Scarboro and Bernhardt’s chatter got more serious and with the space still available they finally picked up a phone and realized the landlord was hoping a bike shop would move in. Not only that, Scarboro says, but when he spoke about it with the 42nd Ave Business Association they said the neighborhood’s second highest priority for that location was a bike shop. “We just kept getting green lights and doors swinging wide open.”
Seeing an opportunity, the two business partners jumped in head first and haven’t looked back since. Right now, they’re focused on repairs and the commuter/family riding market. They plan to expand their offerings next year with gravel/cyclocross bikes and touring gear.
Major online retailer evo set to open eastside retail store
evo, a big name in online retailing in the outdoor industry, is currently refurbishing the old Salvation Army headquarters on SE MLK and Ash into a retail store.
Employee Jordan Sunshine says the new store will include a selection of bike products including complete bikes from Traitor and accessories from Bern, Chrome, Portland Design Works, and others. Sunshine says the bike products are new to their offerings. “We just started diving into bike this month online, in our Seattle store, and it will be in our Portland store,” he said via email. “It is a new category for us and one we have been thinking about for a long time now. Although we are starting off pretty narrow in it, we plan to expand each season into different aspects of bike.”
Follow the construction progress of the new store on the evo blog.
We think bike shops — and their owners and employees — are an essential part of a bike-friendly city, that’s why we’ve covered the local shop beat for many years. For more coverage browse our archives. And if you have any bike shop related news tips, please drop us a line.