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State of Retail: Meet BRAIN's new 2022 retail panel

Published January 10, 2022

A version of this feature ran in the January 2022 issue of BRAIN.

BOULDER, Colo. (BRAIN) — This month we introduce our brand new 2022 State of Retail panelists.

CINCINNATI: David Bordewisch, manager Biowheels

David Bordewisch

Biowheels has been in business for more than 25 years, and it’s changed from being an “everything to everyone” shop, to an MTB shop, to cyclocross, and finally to where it is now: a road, triathlon, and gravel-focused shop with bicycle fitting as the foundation. Three full-time employees do it all, and we’ve had growth and more growth the last four years. The pandemic accelerated our growth, to say the least, and our retail partners have helped us navigate the current supply-chain issues. My career in bike shops began in the 1980s when I worked at K&G Bike Center in the summers and holiday breaks throughout high school and college. Next, I made BMX parts at DK for a bit and returned to K&G during the mountain bike boom. After a detour into financial services, I returned to bicycle retail in a high-end, fit-driven triathlon shop — Wheelie Fun Multi-Sport — and a few years ago, I made the move to Biowheels. I love it here.

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, Calif.: Linda Coburn, co-owner Pedego 101 Electric Bikes

Linda Coburn

My husband John and I opened Pedego 101 Electric Bikes in 2014. We had been searching for a passion project, and electric bikes fit the bill. After quite a bit of research, we settled on becoming an independent Pedego dealer because it had already proven it could help novices like us become successful entrepreneurs. We started with an 800-square-foot retail shop in Westlake Village, a suburb on the borders of Los Angeles and Ventura counties in Southern California. During that first year, I worked in the shop seven days a week with John joining me on weekends (while continuing to work in his family’s business the rest of the time). In 2017, we moved to a much larger space in a nearby business park, and in 2021, we doubled our space to keep up with the need to stock far more inventory. We and our three employees now luxuriate in nearly 4,000 square feet. Seeing someone’s face light up when they first feel the surge of assist is priceless. Having them come back and tell us how much their e-bikes have changed their life is even better. We’re excited for the future!

FRAMINGHAM, Mass.: Francisco Cornelio, manager N+1Cyclery.com

Francisco Cornelio

I have 40 years in the industry thus far, and N+1 Cyclery has been in business for seven of those years. The shop, which opened in 2014, is known as a place “where the old school meets new school”, and we carry new bikes from Bianchi, Cinelli, and Jamis, as well as restorations and “new-to-you” bikes that we sell on consignment. We’re known as the place to get rare bicycle-related items from around the world, and we pride ourselves on having a different vibe and attitude. N+1 has a museum of vintage and antique bicycles and a collection of vintage apparel, accessories, and other historical items of note. I am the only active employee at the shop, and I manage sales, repairs, orders, decor, et cetera. Tara Mantel, the owner, is in charge of the paperwork and legal matters that are involved in keeping the business afloat.

ALTO, Ga.: Joe Elam, owner Habersham Bicycles

Joe Elam

My career in the bicycle industry began at a local bicycle shop in August 1984, where I worked my way up from cutting the grass to stripping down frames, to becoming the store manager. I worked for that shop for 16 years and left to open Habersham Bicycles in August 2000. It was a hard and scary decision to leave such a secure workplace and great people, but I had a strong desire to own my own shop. Habersham, now 21 years in business, is a full-service professional bicycle retailer with two locations and five staff members, providing bicycles, services, and accessories for every level of cyclist. Our primary location is 2,500 square feet in a typical shopping center, and our second location shares space with a running store, yoga group, cafe, personal trainers, massage therapists, and other businesses. It’s a great way to get the cost of occupancy down in an expensive market. Business has been great, despite challenges such as lack of inventory, increasing costs, and shrinking margins.

FOLSOM, Calif.: Erin Gorrell, owner Folsom Bike

Erin Gorrell

My husband Wilson and I have been in the industry for 12 years. Folsom Bike is all about the people. We have 32 employees between two shops and a cafe and have always strived to provide a community bike shop for all levels of cyclists. When we opened in the height of the 2009 recession, people said we were absolutely crazy and would never make it; however, we were determined to use our business backgrounds to bring Folsom the “Nordstrom of bike shops, with a Cheers mentality.” We created a very friendly store, where “everybody knows your name” and it’s aesthetically pleasing with competitive pricing. We try to bring inspiration to our community by being givers of programs, time, money, sponsorships, events and by promoting bicycle advocacy. We engage our passionate and creative employees to amplify our impact. We work with industry partners who share our vision.

PORTLAND, Ore.: Tom Martin, sole proprietor TomCat Bikes

Tom Martin

I've been working in the bike industry for at least five cats’ lives (35 years), in roles ranging from mechanic in independent retailers, co-ops and community bike shops; to supply-side distribution, sourcing and design. I am honored to have gained lifetimes of experience from it all and feel that I live the dream life as owner and operator of this shop, TomCat Bikes, which began in Portland in 2018. The focus of TomCat is service and repair of year-round commuters, summertime Pedalpalooza whips, and collaborative builds. We’re brand- and category-neutral, so I work on some very interesting bikes every day. A bike from TomCat Bikes is more than specification and price point. In December 2021, business is less brisk than the peak spring-summer months, but more than enough for a sole proprietorship with a handful of guest mechanics. I’m committed to bikes as transportation, mobility through autonomy, and the spirit that only you know your bike best.

HATTIESBURG, Miss.: Jenny Moore, co-owner/manager Moore’s Bicycle Shop

Jenny Moore

In 1984, the year I was born, my father opened a bicycle shop in the living room of our small house. We lived in the back for a while before expanding to a larger house and larger facility, and I had the pleasure of growing up in the bicycle business. I took a deeper interest after finishing high school in 2002 and began working as a part-time employee during college. Little did I know this part-time job would end up being a career that I'm passionate about. After completing the Barnett Bicycle Institute program in 2005, I became more interested in the mechanics of a bicycle. I love to ride, but it doesn't compare to the joy I feel when I help new cyclists fall in love with riding. Moore’s currently has two full-time and two part-time employees, all women, and I like to joke that we're taking over the world one shop at a time. Our team has done an incredible job catering to the difficulties that COVID-19 brought on last year, and we are relieved and humbled that business has started to slowly feel normal again.

CHAMPLIN, Minn.: Pam Sayler, owner Trailhead Cycling

Pam Sayler

My husband and I met at a bike shop in 1985; he was the store manager and it was my college part-time job. Our first date was assembling mountain bikes and that inaugural ride. We've been together ever since. It was always Larry's dream to own his own bike shop, and after managing bike shops for others, he took that leap 20 years ago. I was able to leave the corporate world and join him full time 10 years later. My primary function is to draw out of our staff its very best and teach younger staff members what it means to have a job. I identify the expectation, communicate that expectation and review the results.

Trailhead has two locations and a staff of 25. Business is robust. Trends come and go; as a specialty retailer, it's our job to find the bikes and accessories that follow those trends and keep the store fresh and exciting. Our focus is customer-centric specialty retail. We carry kids’ bikes because the most important thing in an adult's life is their offspring. Take care of the kids, the parents are in. And the kids? Well, they grow up and come back.

Jenny Moore

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