PORTLAND, OR (BRAIN)—When industry veterans Mark Ontiveros and Mike France decided to open a shop, they let fate have its way with them. When they discovered the vacant former Django Records building, they instantly knew the time was perfect to open the first Specialized Concept Store in the Pacific Northwest called West End Bikes.
Between that day and the scheduled holiday season opening, the historic century-old landmark is receiving a facelift, thanks to the detail-oriented entrepreneurs and the Specialized USA Retail Services team, according to a press release.
“We saw a big opportunity to succeed downtown, but we had to do it right. The store will incorporate a coffee lounge and will showcase local art and photography,” said France. “We’ll be representing the entire Specialized line, with special emphasis on the what makes Portland’s cycling culture so unique—tandems, touring bikes and a wide array of urban commuter options—making sure the urban riders find what they need.”
West End Bikes will also be equipped with the full range BG FIT services, including the top-end Data Capture system, allowing customers seeking performance to ride as long, fast and comfortably as possible.
Retail service manager Nichole Perrin said that when the two entrepreneurs first approached Specialized with their business plan, there was no question of the project’s fit with the Concept Store idea.
“The area surrounding the shop is in a period of great transition,” she said. “It’s really close to Powell’s books and the bike lane that leads to the waterfront—and it’s a hotbed of culture and redevelopment. It’s a really cool spot that allows us to add Portland’s unique ingredients to our Concept Store recipe and create a truly unique, one-of-a-kind shop.”
The partners have nearly 20 years in the industry between them, and decided that this was their opportunity to create their niche in the city’s vibrant cycling scene. They also wanted to play a role in the West End community’s renaissance.
“While we build the new store, we’re also focusing on reinvigorating this beautiful, storied building, but in doing so, we have to maintain its unique character, so it’ll still gel with the rest of the neighborhood,” said Ontiveros.
The duo also intend for the shop to reflect the sensibilities of local residents and riders through a distinctly urban apparel selection. They will also intend to foster the local riding scene through weekly group rides for beginners, women, and those with a competitive spirit.