To sustain a small bike shop has never been easy. If you did it in the past few years during this downturn in the U.S. bike industry, it was even tougher. That’s just one lesson we can take away from three shop owners in our region that decided to close their doors last month: Holy Spokes on SE Division, Portland Bicycle Studio/3928 Bike Shop on N Williams, and Orenco Station Cyclery in Hillsboro.
All three of these shops opened in the past three years.
Tim Ennis opened Holy Spokes at SE Division and 31st in July of 2014. It was the brick-and-mortar version of his Rolling Wrench mobile bike shop business. The neighborhood shop focused on repair, daily riders, and carfree families. On November 10th he announced to customers on Facebook that, “The time has come to close our doors. It’s been fun but it’s time for new adventures.” We reached out to Ennis to learn more about his decision but have yet to hear back. Holy Spokes is now having a closing sale. Check the shop’s website for the latest deals and updates.
If you were a Holy Spokes customer, check out A Better Cycle (2324 SE Division St), Seven Corners (3218 SE 21st Ave) or Joe Bike (2039 SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd.).
Portlander Molly Cameron has a long history as a local bike shop owner. She opened Veloshop on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd in 2001 and had moved her shop downtown and to the Pearl District before relocating to north Portland one year ago. In addition to running a shop, Cameron has organized cyclocross races and race teams. This past season she managed and raced on the Point S Racing Team.
Cameron’s Portland Bicycle Studio (a.k.a. 3928 Bike Shop) shop on Williams was hit hit by a major theft last month. KATU reported that thieves made off with a whopping $100,000 worth of bikes and parts. We heard from Cameron a few weeks ago. She said via email that the losses were the last straw: “Post burglary, we’ve lost our lease and, commercial real estate is too expensive in Portland now for a small to mid-size retail bike shop to be profitable or sustainable.” The shop is now closed; but Cameron’s Portland Bicycle Studio brand will definitely live on. Stay tuned for what she does next.
If you were a Portland Bicycle Studio customer, check out the two other shops on Williams: Abraham Fixes Bikes (3508 N Williams Ave) or Metropolis Cycle Repair (2249 N Williams Ave).
Out on the West Side, bike shops are fewer and further between. That’s why we’re sorry to see Orenco Station Cyclery in Hillsboro call it quits. Shop owner David Strickland just can’t make the numbers work any longer. He took over the shop from its previous owners in 2015 and it seemed like the perfect location for a neighborhood bike shop: Near dense housing, the massive Intel campus, the MAX station and commercial destinations like New Seasons Market.
Reached via email this week, Strickland said he just couldn’t compete with sales that hapen “seemingly every week” from larger shops nearby like Bike Gallery and Performance. He also wasn’t selling enough bikes in the summer season, and said he had a “terrible year” in 2016 “due to the bad winter and late season start that fizzled out pretty early.”
Fortunately for Strickland, he has another location in Newberg that looks a lot more promising. He plans to focus his energy there where, “the market is more diverse.” He plans to offer skateboards and bike tours as well. Orenco Station Cyclery will be open until December 31st.
While it’s never fun to hear about bike shops closing, it’s worth remembering that there are many shops in the region that are thriving. Just a few blocks south of Portland Bicycle Studio, Metropolis Cycle Repair is celebrating its ninth year in business. And Joe Bike near Holy Spokes just signed another five-year lease.
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