PORTLAND, ME (BRAIN)—The newest Giant Retail Partner Podium store, Gorham Bike and Ski in Portland, Maine, celebrated its official grand opening this past Saturday.
After the preceding day of torrential rain, fears of a washout were washed away as the day dawned clear (well, after a morning fog burned away) and hundreds of people showed up to look at the store, buy stuff, demo Giant bikes, and watch Giant athlete ambassador and urban freeride legend Jeff Lenosky in two performances.
The store was packed all day, and the cash wrap was always busy. There was a poker ride with a young cyclist drawing a full house and winning a Giant Method 01. And the grand prize winner at the store raffle at the end of the day won a Suede.
Store owner Jamie Wright said consumers were stoked to see the look of the new store. “It’s a really good feeling to know that, working with Holly (Wiese) and Andy (Davis)—the way they helped design this place—well, it just came out spectacular. The customers love it.”
Wright’s new store is huge, with a full basement for storage. Why did Wright and his business partner, Tim Corcoran, open a brand new GRP store with many people nervous about the economy?
“Tim and I have been thinking for years that Portland is underserved. There’s plenty of bicycle competition here, but nobody was really stepping up to the plate with a really big store, a well-merchandised store, right downtown," Wright said.
He feels that despite the economic downturn, bicycle retail is one business that can succeed. “To be honest with you, most of Maine is hurting. A lot of jobs have been lost,” he said. “But I think that the bicycle industry as a whole is going to do just fine, because, first of all, cycling is a family activity. It’s healthy for you. People love doing it; it’s good for the environment. It saves you money; it’s inexpensive to get into. It’s really inexpensive after you get into it—you just go out your door and ride your bike. You’ll stay closer to home and ride your bike with your family.”