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Seven Founder Partners in Retailer

Published July 5, 2010

LEXINGTON, MA (BRAIN)—Rob Vandermark, founder and president of Seven Cycles, has teamed up with three partners to open Ride Studio Café in Lexington, Massachusetts.

The business combines a full-service coffee shop, fit studio and high-end retail shop in a 1,300-square-foot space. Ride Studio Café carries Seven, Cervélo, Public Bikes and Honey Bikes, a small U.S.-based manufacturer of steel touring, commuter and cyclocross frames. Honey contracts with local manufacturers around the country to produce frames. Seven currently manufactures some private label frames for the brand.

Vandermark continues to work full-time at Seven and spends evenings and weekends at the shop. Although he’s a shareholder in the retail business and the store sells Seven bikes, he said it’s not company-backed.

“I’ve seen some pretty challenging situations, manufacturers opened a local store or outlet and universally I’ve seen those things work really badly. One of the differences with this is it’s not a Seven project. I’m involved in the project, but Seven has no financial backing. That has really helped to some extent keep it at arm’s length,” he said.

Vandermark said he’s been open with Seven’s largest Boston-area retailer, Landry’s, about his retail business and they’ve been supportive.

“They understand having good retailers is good for everybody, especially those who represent brands really well and are not going to sell at a discount,” Vandermark said.

Vandermark said he’s been working on the project for the past two years with his collaborators, two of whom also own two successful local coffee shops, Bloc 11 and Diesel.

The coffee shop portion of Ride Studio Café follows a low volume, high-quality business model and brews only single serving cups of coffee.

Vandermark expects the bulk of revenue to be generated by the bike shop, but anticipates that the café will eventually run as a stand-alone business.

Ride Studio Café opened in May.

—Nicole Formosa

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