TRAVERSE CITY — Car dealerships and fast-food restaurants often cluster as a one-stop shop for customers.
The relocation of the City Bike Shop to Eighth Street could do the same for pedal enthusiasts at a lower price point and a higher health quotient.
City Bike Shop has completed a move from 322 S. Union St. to the corner of Eighth and Barlow Streets. That puts the bicycle business, which launched in 1955, directly across the street from McLain Cycle & Fitness Shop and a short distance from Brick Wheels.
“I think it’s going to be good for everybody,” said City Bike Shop’s Julie Baesch, who owns the business along with her husband, Steve. “I’m sure we’ll take some of their business and I’m sure they’ll take some of ours. With the three major bike shops right here, people are going to have eight to 10 brands of bikes to look at without having to drive anywhere else.
“People can choose what they want. I think everybody will benefit from it.”
Regular City Bike Shop customer Brian Strickland, of Traverse City, agreed. He walked around the new location at 747 E. Eighth Street on Monday afternoon with his helmet still on his head.
“It’s like a Bike City,” Strickland said of the trio of shops in close proximity.
McLain owner Bob McClain said “time will tell” what the public reaction will be to City Bike Shop’s move. But the positives for the block remain unchanged.
“People won’t have far to go to shop, that’s for sure,” McLain said. “We’re not far from the TART Trail and we’re right downtown. Overall, I think it will be good.”
Brick Wheels owner Tim Brick said he recommended the former home of Addiction Treatment Services’ Porch Building to Steve Baesch.
“They do a lot for the market,” Brick said of City Bike Shop. “I don’t see any negatives. It keeps us all on our toes. I see a lot of positives for Steve and very few negatives for Bob and I.”
The cluster of bicycle and fitness stores also works well with the proposed health and wellness corridor that the North Boardman Lake District and the Traverse City Downtown Development Authority are backing.
“It’s just a great location for a bike shop,” said Brick, noting the proximity to residential areas for test drives and TART Trail access.
“It’s right out the front or the back,” Julie Baesch said. “With Eighth Street done, the (bike path) takes you right out to the TART Trail.”
Brick said the three bicycle shops have been in competition no matter the location. McLain Cycle Shop has been on Eighth Street for more than 20 years and has operated a second store on Garfield Road for more than 40.
“The three shops all get along well,” Julie Baesch said. “If they need a part and we have it, we give it to them and vice versa.”
A move became necessary because the former home of City Bike Shop suddenly got smaller. The business was leasing the northern portion of the building. The sale of that portion forced City Bike Shop to contract.
“We had two buildings at the other place,” Steve Baesch said of the Eighth Street location.
So Baesch decided to sell his building put his building.
“We threw it up for sale and it sold in two days,” Julie Baesch said.
The Baeschs have owned City Bike Shop for more than 20 years, but Steve’s roots are even deeper. Julie Baesch said her husband has worked at the business for 45 years, starting with sweeping floors before moving up to maintenance, then store manager.
“He was just a neighborhood kid who bugged the owner and got a job,” she said.
Julie Baesch said City Bike Shop is still settling into its new location. They have extensive inside reconstruction plans. Walls in the maintenance portion of the building will be eliminated to create more space for City Bike Shop’s three full-time maintenance personnel.
City Bike Shop also sells fitness equipment for residential and commercial use, plus “clothing and anything else that goes along with biking,” Julie Baesch said.
A courtyard on the front of the building likely will be closed in to create more retail space. Julie Baesch said a formal grand opening probably will wait until spring.
“We’re pretty excited about it,” she said. “I think it will be a good move, a fun adventure.”
Even though City Bike Shop is farther away from his home on the west side, Strickland said he won’t have a problem putting a few extra miles on his bicycle.
“All my bikes come from City Bike Shop and I bike all the time,” Strickland said. “I don’t even have a car. This is how I get around, thanks to them. They take good care of me.”