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Industry vet relocates and expands cargo bike shop

Published January 18, 2017

MADISON, Wis. (BRAIN) — When industry veteran Tim Staton purchased his first cargo bike, a Larry vs. Harry Bullitt, a few years ago, he had no idea his career path was about to change. Staton, who was working for Saris at the time, wanted a cargo bike to ride around town with his new daughter, so he contacted Joel Grover, owner of Spendid Cycles in Portland, Oregon.

“I've know Joel for years and he warned me that I'd want to sell these bikes once I got one,” said Staton, who has also worked for Trek, Trek Travel, CSG and in bike retail. “And he was right. I started selling stuff out of my garage and online, including Bullitts, Xtracycle and WorkCycle out of Amsterdam. It filled in the neighborhood bike shop need here.”

As transportation cycling began to increase in Milwaukee so did the need for Staton to move his operation into a bigger space. In December, The Cargo Bike Shop moved out of Staton's garage and into a 2,000-square-foot building, one-third of which he sublets to Cafe Domestique. Dan Coppolla, who Staton met while working for Trek Travel, owns the café/coffee shop. The two businesses have their own door but are connected by an arched doorway.

“Dan's cafe is bike focused and it works well to be able to share the space in a mutually beneficial fashion,” Staton said. “We do a lot of cool events, including a Saturday morning kids' music hour and Dan will start doing race viewings. We spill into each other's spaces during those events.”

For now, Staton is The Cargo Bike Shop's only employee, but he plans to hire mechanics as repair business ramps up in the spring. Staton stocks some parts and accessories, focusing on essentials and unique items, and while he sells only transportation, cargo and longtail models, he will service any bike. The Cargo Bike Shop carries Larry vs. Harry, Xtracycle, Amsterdam’s WorkCycles, Surly, Christiana trikes, Urban Arrow and cargo trikes from Copenhagen's Butchers and Bicycles.

“Our goal is to focus on transportation and that practical cyclist, and our ethos is to have bikes in stock and let people test them all,” Staton said. “I feel that sets us apart from the shop that only has one cargo brand. We'll send bikes home with families for a whole week to really experience it and get the right bike for their needs.”

Madison's dense, cycling-friendly neighborhoods make multi-modal transportation possible, and Staton said more families there are looking for car replacement options.

“When I worked on the supplier side, I never really wanted to own a shop of my own,” Staton said. “But with cargo bikes, I'm working with families and they all have different needs. They're excited about it, and helping people make the choice of selling a car makes me feel good about what I'm doing.”


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