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Denver's SloHi opens its second location, in historic bike shop space

Published January 17, 2018

DENVER (BRAIN) — SloHi Bike has opened its second location in Denver, and it's in a space that has long been home to bicycle retail: the former Collins Bicycles building on Colfax Avenue, near Denver's City Park.

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Collins Bicycles was a landmark Schwinn dealer that opened in 1934. It closed in 2015 and the space was occupied for several years by Two Wheel Feel, another bike shop. SloHi owner Adam Williams said the location still has historic signage, fixtures and even paperwork from its glory days.

Williams and his staff began remodeling the space in December, re-using or repurposing many of the historic elements, including some of the exterior signs.

"The number of neighborhood people who have come by to ask us to maintain the old signs is crazy. This store is like a fixture on Colfax," Williams said.

The location may be the longest-standing bike shop location in the city. The building is still owned by the Collins family that opened the bike shop originally, and members of the family still live nearby.

Like the original SloHi, which is in Denver's Highlands neighborhood, the new store will focus on the urban market with Giant bikes and a selection of cargo bikes and e-bikes. The new location is about 1,300 square feet on the main level with the same amount of space in the basement. That's spacious compared to the original SloHi, a small store that's adjacent to SloHi Coffee, a coffee shop that Williams also owns and operates (that location was in the news last year when thieves drove a truck through its front door).

Colfax Avenue has a colorful reputation, but the location is close to Denver's City Park, making it ideal for test rides and rentals.

The neighborhood is changing rapidly due to Denver's growth in recent years.

"I like this area because it's got a lot more culture and history to it than our other shop, which is in a newer retail area. Colfax has been here forever, and there's a nice mix of people, a lot of families that have lived here for generations. We know it's a neighborhood that can support a bike shop and we hope we can cater to all the people around here."

Williams said bike geeks can waste hours digging through old parts bins and paperwork, including old newspapers and repair and sales records going back to 1938. In the mid-20th century, Collins Bicycle was something of a neighborhood fix-it shop, repairing lawn mowers and sharpening skates as well as fixing bikes.

"We can kind of relate to that because we like to do other things than bikes, like tuning skis and snowboards," he said.

The SloHi City Park location is being managed by Josh Erickson. SloHi held a soft opening last week and plans a grand opening for March 3.

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