SANTA MONICA, CA (BRAIN) — Pedego Electric Bikes continues to expand its reach by opening its seventh Pedego-branded store in less than three months in Southern California. Pedego Santa Monica opened its doors in early May, and will have a grand opening party this Sunday. The 900-square-foot Santa Monica store joins several new beach city locations including Seal Beach, Redondo Beach, Corona del Mar and Dana Point.
Pedego Santa Monica owner Barb Wittels operated her company Pedal or Not Electric Bicycle Tours (which are taken on Pedego bikes) out of a 5-foot-wide kiosk for three seasons before pursuing the idea of opening a full-fledged store. It gave her more real estate for the tour business, and the chance to expand into bike sales. Both businesses operate out of the same space, providing rentals, sales, service and guided tours from the store.
Wittels says that so far they are seeing a wide variety of customers coming into the store, with a surprising number of younger riders wanting to try the electric bikes to speed up their daily commute.
This is also the case at the Pedego Dana Point store, which opened in March. Owner Howard Kaplan says he’s seeing more people than he expected who want to use the bikes as a cheaper and often faster way to get to work. Like most other Pedego storeowners, this is Kaplan’s first experience in the bike industry.
“I was retired and starting to get bored,” he said. “I bought my first Pedego bike and loved it. Once I learned I could open my own store, we met with the company. We found a location that made sense, and well, the rest is history.”
He plans to eventually offer tours out of the 1,400-square-foot store. Like other Pedego stores, Kaplan offers rentals and service and sells accessories, fix-a-flat items and protective gear.
Owners Kenny and Sue Kim opened the 1,800-square-foot Pedego Redondo Beach store in April. Former laundromat owners, the Kims' purchase of their first Pedego bikes also led them to opening a store of their own. While they’re used to providing customer service, Sue Kim says that’s where the similarities between their past career and their new venture end.
“The bike business is so different from what we are used to,” she says. “We have a lot to learn, but it’s so much fun.”
Kim says that learning to service the bikes was easy for her husband Kenny, who performed all the maintenance on their laundry equipment for years.
The fourth Pedego store to recently open is in Corona del Mar, joining other Orange County stores in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach. Last week, two more stores opened in Carlsbad and Cardiff-by-the-Sea, and Pedego Santa Barbara will open on June 1.
Since Pedego is headquartered in Irvine, it was logical for the company to work close to home first.
“Southern California was the ideal place to start, with a perfect climate and environment for year-round cycling,” said Pedego Electric Bikes owner Don DiCostanzo. “Our goal was to dominate Southern California’s coastal communities, figuring that if it doesn’t work down here, it won’t work anywhere.”
The company plans to work with independent owners to open 30 more stores by the end of the year in coastal communities in the U.S., while also expanding to popular destinations across the globe.