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Big Shark Goes Bigger in Missouri Market

Published January 12, 2011

ST. LOUIS, MO (BRAIN)—The two-store Big Shark Bicycle Company in St. Louis is expanding with two new stores set to open this spring.

Urban Shark is a 3,500-square-foot store in downtown St. Louis housed in the same building as a new bike station that offers lockers, bike storage and showers for riders commuting to work. The 6,000-square-foot Big Shark West is opening in a retail center in Chesterfield, a suburb 20 miles outside of St. Louis, taking over the space occupied by Ghisallo Sports, which closed last summer.

“Both opportunities came our way. We weren’t really looking to expand,” said Mike Weiss, 41, owner of the 18-year-old business.

Weiss said two bike shops in the Chesterfield Valley commercial center went out of business last summer, leaving a gaping hole that he hopes to fill. “They were generating over a million in business,” Weiss said. “Part of the reason they failed was there was room for one but there were two.”

Weiss absorbed some of the staff from these stores and pre-seasoned a little deeper with all of his vendors to prepare for the expansion. While Urban Shark will support the bike station with products for commuters and families, Big Shark West will mimic Weiss’s flagship store, which carries Cannondale, Felt, Scott, Raleigh and Kona.

Weiss said his business strategy is different than most shops in that he puts on more than 100 regional events each year. “We’re basically an event production company with a bike store that serves as a retail hub,” he said.

While Big Shark’s sales grew 14 percent last year, Weiss has modest expectations for the new stores. “Our primary goal is to come up with a sustainable model,” he said. “Each business needs to be a hub of cycling culture and activity and both need to be supported by their communities.”

—Lynette Carpiet

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