But after years of growth, it was well past time for a bigger space.
“We can have more than two parties in our shop at one time, so that’s good,” said owner Christiaan Bourdrez about the new space. He moved the shop a few blocks north on Roosevelt into the former Bamboo Hardwoods store, allowing them to add more service stands, stock more bike sizes and better display their wares. And the bamboo flooring and wall panels give the shop a comfortable feel.
“We’ll be like the small Clever Cycles of Seattle,” said Bourdrez, referring to the almost-legendary Portland bike shop that focuses on practical city bikes, cargo bikes and accessories. “We don’t carry anything that doesn’t allow fenders or racks.” It’s not uncommon for people to buy a nice road bike for recreation or a long ride like STP, only to discover that when they start biking to work, their bike was not made to easily install a rack to carry bags or full fenders to block rainy road spray.
Bourdrez is clearly proud of his shop’s growth, and he should be.
“We started out the old fashioned way,” he said, by maxing out credit card loans and working hard to pay it off. So being able to pay off the debt and grow the business into a larger, rather beautiful space is a big step for the shop.
Ride Bicycles has been a Seattle Bike Blog sponsor almost since day one, making the shop among our longest-running partners. The shop opened about a month after Seattle Bike Blog started, so we have sort of grown together.
I asked Bourdrez what he has learned since opening the shop, or if anything surprised him.
“I’m definitely surprised by how many people support local businesses in Seattle,” he said. “You could save a couple bucks online, but it’s not worth it.” He said people are willing to pay more if they trust you to provide quality service, and neighbors prefer to patronize a neighborhood business. He thinks it is important to pay workers a living wage “so they can live in Seattle” and so they will stay on staff and be dependable for customers.
“So long as you do a good job, people are willing to come to you for service.”