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Industry vets Parkin, Stewart buy shop in Colorado mountain town

Published December 10, 2018
Simon Stewart (left) and Joe Parkin.

Editor's note: A version of this story appeared in the December issue of Bicycle Retailer & Industry News.

BUENA VISTA, Colo. (BRAIN)— For longtime friends Joe Parkin and Simon Stewart, the road to becoming shop co-owners has been a long one, complete with twists, turns, pit stops and detours. By all accounts, the journey began in the early 2000s in an old building in downtown Minneapolis, home to the newly opened One on One Bicycle Studio and a three-legged shop cat named Triker. Parkin and Stewart met there while working for owner Gene Oberpriller, the former as a barista and the latter as a mechanic.

Fast-forward a decade and half and a bunch of jobs in various cities later, when Parkin and Stewart have reunited to purchase Boneshaker Cycles in Buena Vista, a small town in central Colorado.

The two had tossed around the idea of opening a shop before, but it wasn't until Stewart visited Buena Vista earlier this year that the opportunity arose. Stewart, who was working at SRAM Technical University in Colorado Springs at the time, wandered into Boneshaker after riding the area's popular Vitamin B trail.

"The owner Dave Volpe recognized me — he had been a student of mine at STU. He was kind of fumbling with a derailleur," said Stewart, who has also worked as a motorcycle mechanic, a ride guide for Western Spirit Cycling, a contributor for Bike magazine and as a columnist for Dirt Rag. "He said, 'I don't know what I'm doing. I'm a pharmacist, not a mechanic. Hey, do you want to buy a bike shop?' and I said, 'How much?' That's pretty much how we landed here."

Volpe opened Boneshaker five years ago because there wasn't a bike shop in town. Parkin, a former pro road and mountain bike racer and author, had recently moved from Germany to Colorado Springs, where until October his wife, Elayna Caldwell, worked as marketing director at SRAM.

"It was the easiest decision ever, honestly. Simon and I have known each other for years. Dave was ready to get out, so I came over in June to check out the area," said Parkin, a former editor of Bike magazine. "There was a lot of serendipity at play here."

The deal closed in September, and Stewart and Parkin moved their families to Buena Vista and began working at Boneshaker. Located on Main Street, the 2,200-square-foot shop carries Trek, Santa Cruz and Juliana, and although it caters to trail riders, Boneshaker will also stock some road and gravel bikes. In addition to Stewart and Parkin, Boneshaker has one other full-time employee, Matt Wells, who helped Volpe run the shop for several years.

The new owners will expand the shop into the neighboring space to nearly double its square footage, and are in the process of applying for beer and liquor licenses. Parkin said they also plan to exercise the purchase option written into their lease.

Parkin and Stewart have also opened a suspension service shop inside the store called Shaker Suspension, where they'll service parts from all brands.

"We're dedicated to service. I stood up in front of classrooms for years as an instructor, extolling the virtues of service and how it's how you keep your shop afloat in challenging times," Stewart said. "This is quite literally me bringing my money where my mouth is."

Buena Vista is situated along the Arkansas River, making it a destination for whitewater kayaking and rafting enthusiasts, and is about an hour from six different ski resorts. Parkin said that 20 years ago there were only two places to eat in town, but today there is a nice hotel, more restaurants and a food truck culture. With a climate suitable for nearly year-round riding and trails close to town, it also has a small but growing riding scene.

"The cycling community is in its infancy, but there is a strong handful of passionate trail advocates and mountain bikers here," Parkin said. "Our biggest thing is to become part of the town and grow the tourism here, to do whatever that takes. There is a lot of room to grow."

 

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