ST. PAUL, MN (BRAIN) — By the end of summer, Erik’s Bike Shop should have opened its 20th location in a onetime autoworkers’ union hall across from the defunct Ford Twin Cities Assembly Plan right on the Mississippi River in St. Paul. It will be Minnesota and Wisconsin retailer Erik Saltvold’s first store in St. Paul.
“I’m really excited. It’s an area I’ve been looking to get into for a long time,” he said.
The 1950s-era building had been used for weddings and meetings since the Ford plant’s closure in late 2011, and Saltvold discovered the property after taking a brief diversion off the nearby cycling path that runs along the Mississippi.
Saltvold is gutting the 8,000-square-foot space and will build a new façade to give the building a “retro-chic” look in keeping with its heritage. It will be the first property to be redeveloped in the Ford complex.
“What great about this is the irony that in this auto area, the first thing to come on line is a bike shop,” said Saltvold.
Located in St. Paul’s Highland Park neighborhood, the store should see significant traffic not only from nearby cycling paths — “From those trails you can get to pretty anywhere in the Twin Cities and the suburbs,” Saltvold said — but also from the rich retail community that has developed in Highland Park.
Meanwhile, the opening of the 19th Erik’s Bike Shop location, in the Milwaukee suburb of Whitefish Bay, has been pushed back from late spring to early summer due to construction delays. It will be the first store in the Milwaukee market for Saltvold, who operates four Wisconsin locations in Eau Claire and Madison.