BETHEL, CT (BRAIN)—Bethel Cycle reopened its doors in a new location in the historic old Bethel Train Station. The new setting is just two blocks from its old location of 41 years.
Besides the charm of the old train depot, there is ample parking and the covered train platform, high ceiling and large windows and doors give the space an airy indoor–outdoor feeling. “The whole concept is to take it from a train transportation center to a cycling transportation center,” said Greg Pelican, who has owned the store with his wife Beth for 12 years.
Early last year, Bethel Cycle’s proposal was selected by the town to improve and renovate the space. Pelican said it received tons of support from the local community, which as home to Cannondale and Cycling Sports Group is a hotbed for cycling. Bethel Cycle worked with a local architect to open up the interior space and revitalize the long vacant building. Local contractors started demolition of the 1,900-square-foot interior in mid-December. The space was totally renovated with new walls, floors, a vaulted ceiling and new energy efficient heating, air conditioning, lighting, windows and doors were installed.
“We totally gutted the building but kept all the charm and character of it, and it came out to be just a fantastic space for a bike shop,” said Pelican, adding that he will be able to deduct most of the building improvements over the life of the 10-year lease.
Pelican recruited 40 to 50 members of the Bethel Cycle Club to help walk the bikes from the old location to the new location during move-in in early March. “There was a stream of people walking two bikes. It didn’t take long at all; we all made a couple of trips,” said Pelican.
The move also gave Bethel Cycle an opportunity to hone its product selection. It will move away from kids’ bikes and low-end bikes and focus on high-end and custom fit bikes. “Now the space is more upscale,” said Pelican. “We’ve committed a lot to bike fitting and we just got a Guru dynamic fitting unit. We’re focusing on what we do best: road, tri and getting people new to cycling on bikes.”
Pelican said the refocus of its business is timely as the high-end bike business rebounds following the recession. “We are seeing a resurgence of high-end bikes over $4,000 to $5,000,” he said.