After a quick tune-up, a century-old bike shop is ready to ride again.
“It’s an icon,” Bohn said. “It just makes good business sense to take advantage of that clientele that has frequented this store for many years.”
The shop has been open for about three weeks at 1904 Staples Mill Road, Bohn said. Pedal Power will host a grand opening July 27 and 28. It will raffle off a bike and offer discounts on bikes and accessories that weekend.
Rowlett’s shut its doors in April. The economic downturn and increased competition led to the closure, Rowlett’s owner Fred Allyn said in March. Former Rowlett’s employee Kate Brandon said the market has filled up in the past five years or so.
“There used to be just like three bike shops,” Brandon said. “There’s been a huge boom.”
Bohn said Pedal Power could succeed in the same location because his business will have lower overhead costs than Rowlett’s. He specifically said he would be spending less on bookkeeping and phone service.
Bohn also has only three employees at Pedal Power. Brandon is now the store’s service manager and the other two employees also worked at Rowlett’s. Brandon said Rowlett’s had as many as seven employees at a time in the past couple of years.
Pedal Power moved into the building May 15. Since then, Bohn has repainted the showroom and added a half-wall for office space. He still needs to cover the Rowlett’s logo on the outside wall and change the sign out front. Bohn estimated the total cost of renovation at about $5,000.
Bohn opened the first Pedal Power shop in 1989 on Lee Park Road in Mechanicsville. He said he would tailor the inventory in his Richmond location to the city’s mountain biking trails while specializing in road bikes at the Mechanicsville shop.
Bohn had no plans for a second shop before the Rowlett’s building became available, nor does he aspire to open a third anytime soon.
“One of the primary incentives for me to open that second location was to kind of keep this bicycle shop a bicycle shop,” Bohn said.
Customers have been coming to the shop since before the soft opening June 15, Brandon said. She attributes the continued interest to carryover from Rowlett’s last days, but some bikers have a much longer history with the shop on Staples Mill Road.
“I had people come through and say, ‘My dad brought me down when I was a kid and bought my first bicycle,’” Bohn said.