Carytown’s newest bike shop doesn’t need to look far for a view of its competition.
Conte’s Bike Shop launched almost two weeks ago directly across the street from Carytown Bicycle Co. and Agee’s Bicycles.
Charles Conte, the store’s owner, said he opened the location at 3105 W. Cary St. to help retain customers in the city since his move from West Broad Street and Parham Road to Short Pump in March.
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“I’ve served thousands of people in that area over the years, and our old location was already a bit of drive for them,” Conte said. “And Short Pump is like another country for them. I’ve had to take the phone calls from customers upset with us, so it’s been good to assure them that we’ll still be in the market.”
Conte’s is taking the space formerly occupied by consignment shop Clover, which is now at 3124 W. Cary St. Conte, 47, said construction on the store cost about $72,000. This is the second Conte’s in the Richmond market.
The new location is focused on bike repairs, parts and accessories but does have a small inventory of about 37 bikes, he said. Conte’s sells bikes by Specialized and Electra.
“This is a small store for us,” he said. “It’s 1,100 square feet, but our usual layout is between 7,000 and 12,000 square feet. We’re not trying to intimidate or put pressure on anyone. We’re keeping in touch with our customer base. This is the first of our new generation of express stores.”
Still, Conte said he thought there is room for a third bike vendor in Carytown.
“The way I think about it is, look at all the grocery stores in Carytown,” he said. “The customer looks at that and says, ‘I’m the winner.’”
The company is still looking for two more locations in the Richmond market, he said.
David Oakley, manager at Agee’s Bicycles across the street, said he thought another cycling store in the area would continue to draw bike shoppers to Carytown. Oakley said that’s what has happened since Carytown Bicycle Co. moved in one door down last spring.
“I think what happens is that people who can’t find what they are looking for there can come over here and hopefully find it,” he said. “And it works the other way, too. We understand that. … It keeps us on our toes, and that’s a good thing.”
Braden Govani, one of the owners at the 10,000-square-foot Carytown Bicycle Co. store, agreed that the competition is a good thing for shoppers.
“Bike shops run a bit like car dealerships, in that they don’t all carry every brand,” he said. “Now people will be able to come to Carytown, try a Cannondale, a Trek or Specialized, and that’s pretty cool.”