PORTLAND, Ore. (BRAIN) — One of Portland's long established and largest shops will close its doors on July 31. Bike N Hike staff is in the process of liquidating inventory and preparing to disperse all leftover bike, parts, accessories and fixtures among its three remaining Portland metro area stores.
Owner Kevin Chudy has worked at Bike N Hike his entire adult life, starting in high school when he worked at the regional chain's original location, which opened 42 years ago in Albany, Oregon. He eventually partnered with Bike N Hike founder Al French, and currently owns the four of the six Bike N Hike locations in western Oregon. In 2008, Chudy remodeled and expanded his Portland store and added a dedicated women's section.
But Chudy told BRAIN that declining sales could no longer support the 7,500-square-foot space.
“Sales have been soft for three years at our Portland store,” Chudy said. “We had terrible weather, with the three coolest, wettest springs on record. This year, it's been challenging. May and June weren't kind to anyone here. By mid-June, I knew we couldn't recover.”
“If you can't make money in June, July and August, you just won't survive the winter here,” Chudy added. "Closing a store sucks, but I needed to get off the train.”
Chudy also cited market saturation in Portland as a potential factor for a gradually shrinking customer base. “What we've had is a customer and selling problem these past couple of years,” he said. “There are 80 bike shops in Portland, and I have to wonder if we're all slowly dying from 1,000 paper cuts.”
Even so, Chudy said business has been stronger at his suburban Portland stores, located in Milwaukie, Hillsboro and Beaverton.
“In those communities, there isn't a bike shop on every other corner,” he said. “So it's just a different dynamic out there.”
Chudy will continue to manage his other stores from a home office, where he says he'll spend the winter weighing his options, which could include opening a store in a new location in Portland. “I won't rule anything out at this point,” he said. “The bike industry has changed, and I can see that a smaller store in this market could be beneficial.”
Chudy also said he's working to place Portland employees who wish to stay with the company in other Bike N Hike locations.