CARMEL, CA (BRAIN)—Bay Bikes, a Monterey, California cycling institution for over 25 years, just opened a brand new shop in nearby Carmel.
Back in 1985, Devin Meheen's step-father opened a bike rental shop on Cannery Row under the suspicion that the City of Monterey would turn the town's defunct railway tracks into a bike path. The gamble paid off. Today, thousands of locals and visitors enjoy the scenic views from the Monterey Recreation Trail.
In 2003, Devin purchased Bay Bikes so his step-father and mother could retire and since then, Bay Bikes has more than tripled its rental and retail sales. It's nearly impossible to be anywhere near downtown Monterey without seeing smiling riders aboard rental bikes from Bay Bikes.
Now with a family of his own, when Meheen and his wife Stacy wanted to get back to their roots in their home town of nearby Carmel, fate dealt them a lucky card when they heard about a new bike path that was being planned for the summer of 2010—Carmel's first.
"We found this location—the old Thunderbird Bookstore—it was a staple in the community, and was the place to be and be seen for over 20 years," Stacy said. "It also just happened to be really close to the planned bike path."
By the time the 4,600 square foot shop opened a couple months ago, the first stage of the planned Carmel bike path was complete. Once again, Bay Bikes was fortunate to benefit from the newly-built, and well timed cycling infrastructure.
"Having the shop directly on the bike path allows us to reach all types of riders. It gives us the freedom to allow customers to try bikes and equipment in a real world riding situation, but also gives us the ease to assist rentals and get them enjoying the sites as quickly as possible. It's the best of both worlds," Stacy said.
With roots running so deep in Carmel, one of Devin’s clear focuses with the shop is to stay in touch, and bring cycling to his neighbors. Activities like riding with 10 local kids on their ride to school every morning and volunteering his time teaching young children how to ride and about bicycle safety, his commitment is not just to benefit his business, but to benefit the community.
"We're still working to become known, but we're making sure our customer service sets us apart on the business level. We don't just want to sell products; we want to get to know our customers and community better so that, when they need something, there's no hesitation where they need to go and get it."
In order to help meet the goals they set for the shop, the Meheens decided to open the new Bay Bikes as a Specialized Elite Shop. The design partnership helped maintain their unique vision and took design advice from the knowledgeable Specialized USA Retail Services staff.
"We know our location and community but needed help with the store design,” Devin said. “By doing an Elite Shop, we've had amazing guidance in every aspect of the remodel— from paint colors and cash wrap design, to figuring out how to deal with the unusual architecture of the building, integrating a BG FIT studio and making the shop into one cohesive design."