In this episode, I share conversations I had this week with two Portland bike shop owners: Brad Parker from Metropolis Cycles (2249 N Williams Ave), and Cassie Hidalgo, owner of Gladys Bikes (2905 NE Alberta St).
As we move further away from the peak of the pandemic, I wanted to circle back with shop owners who’ve been at the front lines of a tumultuous 20 months. First Covid hit and they had no idea what the future would hold. Then before they catch their breath, people were knocking down their doors as a bike boom took hold. Then they ran out of parts and bikes as they set up an entirely new business model and scrambled to meet demand, while keeping staff and customers healthy.
(Cassie and Brad in their natural habitats. Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)
You’ll hear Cassie talk about how people drove from all over the state to buy a bike from her small shop, and what it was like to take over as the new owner of Gladys Bikes the same month Oregon announced a statewide Covid lockdown. Brad shares how he had to scramble to track down parts to keep customers happy, how he’s starting to see strong commuter traffic return to Williams (a great sign!), and much more.
I waited to do these interviews, because it feels like bike shop life is finally getting back to normal and these owners can finally breathe a bit easier — although we did wear masks because we recorded inside the shops.
I hope you enjoy our conversations as much as I did. Stay tuned for future episodes as I expand this series to a wider variety of shop owners across Portland.
And stay tuned next week for my conversation with Yamhill County Commissioner, former bike shop employee, and gubernatorial candidate Casey Kulla.
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