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North Carolina's Motion Makers Bicycle Shop to open third store in May

Published March 21, 2018

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (BRAIN) — Retailer Kent Cranford has announced plans to open a third Motion Makers Bicycle Shop later this spring. The store will be located in Cherokee, a small town about one hour west of Asheville that serves as a gateway to Great Smoky Mountains National Park.

The completion of a new mountain bike trail system last year piqued Cranford's interest in opening a bike shop in Cherokee. The 10.5-mile Fire Mountain trail network had been in discussion for several years, and the $350,000 project moved forward in 2017 when the Cherokee tribe hired Trail Dynamics, a company that also built many of the trails in Dupont State Forest near Brevard.

"They quietly made a move on it last year and opened in May. Everyone began asking about a bike shop in Cherokee, even though our store in Sylva is 20 miles away," said Cranford, who purchased Motion Makers' Sylva location in 2007 and opened a store in Asheville in 2009. "It was worth considering and I understood the need, but it was on the back burner because it was something that didn't need to happen tomorrow. I was watching to see if maybe someone else would do it."

But when an offer on an affordable lease was put on the table, Cranford decided that someone would be him.

"A local business owner is really excited about how the outdoor trend is affecting not only his health, but the health of the Cherokee community as well. He came to me and told me he wanted an outdoor-oriented business to move into a building he owned that had come available," Cranford said. "He made it really easy and affordable for us, so I decided to go for it."

The building is a bright yellow 3,800-square-foot old colonial house situated at the first stoplight in Cherokee as visitors exit Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One of the three bike-legal trails in the park is easily accessed from the shop, and the Fire Mountain trail system can be seen from the store's front porch. Out the back door lies the southern terminus of the Blue Ridge Parkway and the starting point for several popular gravel bike routes into the National Park.

Motion Makers will occupy the 2,000 -quare-foot first floor of the building, and an existing local outdoor store has plans to set up shop on the second floor.

"We want to be a hub for people. We can tell them where to ride and rent them bikes. There is riding right here but trails are all around us, including the Western Carolina University trails," Cranford said. "One hour from here, you're at the entrance of Pisgah (National Forest) and another half an hour you can be in Dupont. And of course, we've got the National Park, too."

Cranford said the Cherokee store will be a bit more focused than his other stores, but will carry the same brands, including Specialized, Moots and Surly. But because there is a local skatepark that allows bikes, Cranford plans to also sell BMX bikes and skateboards. He'll also stock gravel bikes and e-MTBs, which are legal on the Fire Mountain trails. The store is currently undergoing a mild renovation. Cranford is in the process of hiring employees and hopes to open May 1.


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