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North Carolina retailer gets new digs, adds beer

Published September 25, 2014
Revolution sells Surly, Raleigh, Santa Cruz and other bike brands.

GREENSBORO, N.C. (BRAIN) — Besides gaining a better location and more space, Revolution Cycles also has also added taps to its store following a recent move. Owner Watts Dixon moved the shop about a mile down the road in May, putting it closer to a college campus. Dixon said that adding beer to his lineup was something he's wanted to do for some time.

"It's been a long time coming," said Dixon. "It's something we've talked about doing for years, ever since hearing about Velo Cult (in Portland, Oregon), but honestly, we were just way too frustrated with our location to justify the expense of upfitting that space to make it happen."

Revolution Cycles is a boutique-style store with a staff of four. It stocks bikes from Niner, Surly, Ritte, Surly, Raleigh, Santa Cruz and others. Dixon bought the business as Friendly Bike seven years ago, and opened it as Revolution Cycles in its previous 2,200 square-foot location. With its recent move, Revolution gained an additional 1,200 square feet.

The new store is located near several other businesses, including a restaurant, coffee shop, bakery, and a wine bar, among others. Dixon said that July and August in the new location were record months for him, due in part to better visibility and walk-in traffic.

"It's amazing the difference a change that small can make. Before people would drive by at 40 mph and never even see us. Now we're at a corner with a traffic light, and tons of commuter traffic. They have to stop," said Dixon. "And when they do, they see bikes in the window. You'd be amazed how many people walk in and say, 'How long have y'all been open?' 'Umm... only seven years!' They had no idea we were here. Seven years of being invisible, all because we were less than a mile down the street in the wrong direction."

Dixon spent several weeks remodeling the store, which was in rough shape when he signed the lease in March.

"We really got to do something unique. We stained the floors and used as much reclaimed wood as possible for the build out, like old timbers and busted pallets," said Dixon. "The bar and counters are built from doors and windows salvaged from an old courthouse. We got to do some fun things."

One of those fun things was to finally incorporate the beer sales that they had long considered. Dixon said it took about two months to receive the necessary permits to serve beer. He anticipates that beer sales will bring in some additional income, but that diversifying will ultimately help set his store apart in town that he feels is a "super-saturated bicycle retail market".

"We've really worked hard and carved out our place as the alternative shop in town, and this will only further it. And yeah... if we make a few dollars more than we did before, that's certainly a plus," Dixon said. "At the very least it will certainly help take away the sting every time someone comes in and showrooms us. Who knows? Now they might even buy something."

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