Industry Ticker: Bike N Hike stores up for sale as owner preps to retire

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Bike N Hike owner Kevin Chudy
(Photo: Linkedin)

According to a story last week in Bicycle Retailer & Industry Magazine (BRAIN), three bike shops in our region could close if a seller doesn’t step up.

Kevin Chudy, the owner of three Portland-area Bike N Hike stores, plans to retire at the end of this year after 31 years in the business. As part of that transition he’s looking to sell his stories in Milwaukie, Beaverton and Hillsboro.

Chudy, who won an Alice Award from the Bicycle Transportation Alliance in 2007, closed his 7,500 square-foot Portland location back in July 2014 because of declining sales.

The closures of these stores would be a blow to the communities they currently serve. Bike N Hike is the only full-service bicycle shop in Milwaukie. In Beaverton, the closure of Bike N Hike would mean the Raleigh Hills area east of Highway 217 would be left with just one small bike shop. A similar situation could play out in the Hillsboro area.

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For 57-year-old Chudy, moving on from the bike business will give him time to ride and travel.

“The bike business has been a little bit challenged, that’s no secret,” Chudy told BRAIN. “But if there’s a retailer looking to expand or broaden their market or move, we have a pretty good reputation and customers have been riding to our storefronts for many years.”

Read the full story at BicycleRetailer.com.

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Paul H.
Paul H.
7 years ago

My first bike purchase after moving to Portland was at the Milwaukie Bike N Hike (although it’s not technically in the city of Milwaukie; it’s in the section of unincorporated Clackamas Co known as Oak Grove).

The gist of the article is nonetheless correct: there’s no other bike shop close to its location. You’d have to go north to Bike Commuter in Sellwood or south to First City Cycles in Oregon City.

Dan
7 years ago

Wait, what happened to Kissler’s? Heh, I grew up out there, but it has been quite awhile since I’ve been by my old stomping grounds.

Eric Hare
Eric Hare
7 years ago
Reply to  Dan

It closed 5-10 years ago..

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
7 years ago
Reply to  Eric Hare

Yes its amazing how many bikes from the 1970s and 1980s I always see for sale with a Kissler sticker still blazing away on the seat post tube after decades.

Pete
Pete
7 years ago
Reply to  Dan

Wow, there’s a blast from the past!

Mark
Mark
7 years ago

What’s the deal with bike shops struggling in the number one bike city on the west coast? Although..I am pretty put off by the high prices for bikes.

pengo
pengo
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Market saturation + websites where P&A can be purchased below wholesale.

Also, retailers are similarly put off by the low margins on bikes.

rick
rick
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

What is there to expect when ODOT has yet to install continuous bike lanes on both Canyon Road and BH Highway from 217 to Multnomah County?

Andy K
Andy K
7 years ago
Reply to  rick

How do you “install” a continuous bike lane? You make it sound easy.

rick
rick
7 years ago
Reply to  Andy K

PBOT has bike lanes on all of their part of BH Highway.

Fat Spandex Dude
Fat Spandex Dude
7 years ago
Reply to  Mark

Bike retail is a difficult business to be in, even in cities where cycling is popular. Customers expect to see a wide selection of bicycles, but bicycles are difficult to just break even on, because they suck up a lot of square footage and require a serious sales effort to move. Any profit to be had exists in sales of apparel, accessories, parts, and service, with service being the only thing that they won’t lose to the Internet.

Worse, at least for LBS owners, cycling is most popular in the urban core, where square footage is most expensive. So, the owners get caught in a bit of a bind where if they want to have a good location in a spot with a lot of, uh, wheel traffic, they have to dedicate a lot of expensive space to product that has a low profit margin, if any.

Maybe stores like Velo Cult, which has turned into something of a pub that happens to have bicycle service and parts sales and even a couple of built bicycles for sale, will redefine what a LBS is by putting more emphasis on community building than on bicycle retail.

rick
rick
7 years ago

Both Clackamas and Washington County need to address the lack of bicycle infrastructure. They have a 40 % off sale right now at Bike n Hike.

Dwaine Dibbly
Dwaine Dibbly
7 years ago

Hopefully he can find a buyer and enjoy a nice retirement. At 57, I’m hoping that he becomes bored and gets into advocacy full-time. 🙂

Nathan Hinkle (NearlyKilledMe and The Bike Light Database)

Any idea what’ll happen with the Corvallis store? Is Bike ‘N Hike a franchise and Kevin only owns those particular locations?

Pete
Pete
7 years ago

Yes, that is exactly what I heard (from a friend of Kevin’s). The Corvallis store was the first (and where I bought my Gary Fisher) and the owner built up the chain and sold the rest to Kevin. I’d heard that Kevin invested a great deal of money in the downtown store (to Fat Spandex Dude’s point above) and couldn’t recover it, and now the rest of the enterprise has suffered.

(I also bought a bike from the Beaverton store nearly ten years ago and was tremendously pleased with the service – I hope they can keep it open!)

El Biciclero
El Biciclero
7 years ago
Reply to  Pete

Hey, I bought my current main machine at the Beaverton B&H. I always take it back there for service I can’t do myself, and they do a good job.

Speaking of Kissler’s, as someone mentioned above (for those that don’t know, Kissler’s bike shop used to be practically right next door to the Beaverton B&H), I used to take my old Trek there for tune-ups and such, since they were a Trek dealer (and within walking distance of my apartment), and they always fixed it just wrong. Sadly, I wasn’t very surprised when they closed…

Matt
Matt
7 years ago

The ‘Milwaukie’ location is actually pretty far from the core of Milwaukie and not in Milwaukie (a mistake nearly all reporters make on the local news casts regarding Oak Grove and Milwaukie). Most folks in Milwaukie head to Sellwood for bike related services. Got my first mtn bike at that location in around 1986 or so.

Brian H.
Brian H.
7 years ago

The Beaverton shop has been my go-to LBS for repairs for years, and it’s a great crew who works there. It’s an easy drop-in location off of 5th street which I use for my commute (lots of others use 5th as well). I hope someone will buy it and keep it operating.

rick
rick
7 years ago
Reply to  Brian H.

Have you been to Riders and Sliders by SW Laurelwood Ave in Raleigh Hills?

TonyT
TonyT
7 years ago

“if a seller doesn’t step up”

I think you mean “if a buyer doesn’t step up.”

Craig Harlow
Craig Harlow
7 years ago
Reply to  TonyT

…and I think you mean “As part of that transition he’s looking to sell his [stores] in Milwaukie, Beaverton and Hillsboro” – unless he’s looking for a book deal 🙂

Evan Manvel
Evan Manvel
7 years ago

Kevin’s been a fabulous, generous leader in the bike shop world. I second the hope that he continues to stay engaged.

DataIsBeautiful
DataIsBeautiful
7 years ago

Bicycle shops can survive in the future by upping the customer experience through empowerment.

Here is an example: Each bicycle purchased comes with a laminated card and digital card that spells out every bike spec of the bike. Full parts list and measurements, down to the nitty gritty. These parts should probably be coded too, color or letter or number or something… Make sure you stock spare parts and upgrade parts for the majority of bikes sold over the past couple years… run some data that helps you stock this properly… Highlight those upgrade parts in the store space instead of too many bikes or water bottles or energy foods or clothing. Code the products the same way the customer spec sheet is coded and let them browse without having to ask technical questions.

Soon you will have a store full of people who know everything about their bikes and parts and accessories. Any new customer will pick up on this and soon people will be “sharing” information “socially” in your store just like online.

Universal Cycles is pretty close to this… but I think you can do it with a much smaller inventory.

Granpa
Granpa
7 years ago

The ticket to improve the sales of bicycles is to fit the bikes at the factory with unique bolts, thread patterns, fitment and gadgets then make them obsolete after a couple of years and repeat. An old bike with no replacement parts will need to be replaced.

Oh wait, we are there already.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
7 years ago

There are two “Portlands” in this region…the actual City core with its 70+ bike shops and then there are the regional centres barely hanging on to 1 or at most 2 bike shops. This does not dip into the generic big box retailers, just the LBS.

Back in 2007 when I did the calculation for the CoV helmet ordinance…investigating the ability of bicyclists to get a good helmet fitting… it was like 1 shop per 5K pop in zone 1 (Portland) and 1 shop per 50k pop in zone 2 (areas like Vancouver). There are now more bike shops in zone 1.

Evan
Evan
7 years ago

I worked at Kissler’s in Beaverton from 1987 until the day it closed, on and off. I even managed the store for a year, I think in 1995. That place was kind of a second home for me. I’ll bet there are more than a few people who read this site that have bikes I sold. Yes, in the last few years of business Kissler’s definitely suffered. Dirk (Kissler’s owner) should have sold the business a few years before he finally closed it down; he was tired. Dirk ended up donating everything he had left in the shop to what I think became the Washington County BTC, setting them up with a shop full of tools and inventory.
Although Kevin and Dirk may not have gotten along, the employees of the two stores always got along. This includes Scott, who went from managing at Kissler’s to becoming Kevin’s buyer in the early 1990s.
I ended up working for Kevin a little while during grad school, around 2001 I think. He was a good person to work for. I hope someone steps in to keep this company going. And I hope he enjoys his next adventure.

Evan
Evan
7 years ago

I worked at Kissler’s in Beaverton from 1987 until the day it closed, on and off. I even managed the store for a year, I think in 1995. That place was kind of a second home for me. I’ll bet there are more than a few people who read this site that have bikes I sold. Yes, in the last few years of business Kissler’s definitely suffered. Dirk (Kissler’s owner) should have sold the business a few years before he finally closed it down; he was tired. Dirk ended up donating everything he had left in the shop to what I think became the Washington County BTC, setting them up with a shop full of tools and inventory.
Although Kevin and Dirk may not have gotten along, the employees of the two stores always got along. This includes Scott, who went from managing at Kissler’s to becoming Kevin’s buyer in the early 1990s.
I ended up working for Kevin a little while during grad school, around 2001 I think. He was a good person to work for. I hope someone steps in to keep this company going. And I hope he enjoys his next adventure.

rick
rick
7 years ago
Reply to  Evan

4 bike shops have closed in Washington County since 2012 (including the two Bike N Hike shops).