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New Giant store brewing in Marin County

Published April 8, 2013

NOVATO, CA (BRAIN) — Northern Marin County gets a new purveyor of bikes—and beer, too, if all goes according to plan—as Bicycle Brüstop prepares to open April 27 as a Giant partner store.

Husband-and-wife owners Aaron and Carolyn Thompson are building out retail part of the 2,100-square-foot store with input from Giant’s designers. Some 300 square feet in the back will house a bar/lounge area with four tap handles, four barstools, one table and two televisions, with one screen for roadies, the other for the gravity/action sports crowd.

“I want it to be a place where people can stay and hang out, not just shop and leave,” said Aaron Thompson.

It was almost last call for the Brü part of the business, however, before the Thompsons could even begin building the shop’s bar. Local youth advocacy groups opposed the bar/bike shop combination before city officials, saying it could encourage underage drinking and increase the chance of drunken cycling and driving. One complainant also claimed the concentration of establishments serving alcohol was already too high in Bicycle Brüstop’s tract.

The Thompsons have pledged to serve only draft beer, so no bottle or cans can be snuck off site to underage youth, and to have all its servers certified through a National Restaurant Association alcohol program. They’ll also set up video surveillance of the service and seating areas.

After rallying its own community support, Bicycle Brüstop last week received its conditional use permit to serve beer and is awaiting approval of its license from the California Department of Alcohol Beverage Control.

On the retail side of the business, meanwhile, Bicycle Brüstop will focus on intermediate and high-end road, mountain, fitness and hybrid bikes, ceding the market for cruisers, BMX and entry-level bikes to longtime retailer Old Town Sports, located kitty-corner from the store.

It will also be a big proponent of women’s cycling, with Carolyn Thompson serving as the female face of the shop and the Liv/Giant line filling product need.

“That’s one of the reasons went with Giant. They’re going to be the act to follow in women’s cycling over the next few years,” Aaron Thompson said.

 

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