athletes lounge

Western Bikeworks absorbs Athletes Lounge to expand into triathlon market

Avatar by on October 10th, 2016 at 10:27 am

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Six weeks after closing its doors for good, Portland’s only triathlon shop has found new life in an unexpected place: Another bike shop.

Early Saturday morning Western Bikeworks announced an agreement with Athletes Lounge. Western Bikeworks has locations in northwest Portland and Tigard and is one of the city’s largest bike shops. In addition to their two retail locations Western Bikeworks does a robust online business as one of four e-commerce bike brands owned by Portland-based Velotech Inc (they also run Cyclocross.com, UrbanCyclist.com and BikeTiresDirect.com).

According to a statement, Athletes Lounge owner Gary Wallesen and an undisclosed number of his former staff will now be employed by Western Bikeworks in order to, “expand the areas of expertise” into trisports. Wallesen has also been hired to spearhead a new e-commerce site at AthletesLounge.com in the coming months.
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Athletes Lounge, a fixture in Portland’s triathlon scene, is closing

Avatar by on August 22nd, 2016 at 1:14 pm

The Athletes Lounge tent at a race.

The Athletes Lounge tent at a race.

Portland’s only bike shop that specialized in the needs of triathletes is closing its doors. Athletes Lounge in northwest on Vaughn and 26th plans to close by October 1st.

Gary Wallesen has owned the shop for nearly six years after purchasing it from its previous owner who had run it since 2007.

Wallesen says the business isn’t strong enough to remain open. “Last year the numbers were down, this year numbers really down,” he shared via email last week. And he also offered some external reasons he feels the bike shop business is especially challenging these days. “The business environment is changing, online [shopping] is growing, a shop in town discounts everything and hurts all others. There is a big inventory of new bikes in Portland and the market.” Wallesen said the triathlon market is particularly flat (pun intended).

He even shared one cautionary tale that might point to larger trends: “I think people are looking to ride, but the roads are getting more crowded and a little less safe. So markets that take riders of the road might be doing better.”
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