As small businesses across the state struggle to make ends meet during the COVID-19 pandemic, a bike shop in Littleton has been busier than ever.
Lauren Dimartino is the general manager at Pedal, a bike shop at 2640 W. Belleview Ave. just off the Platte River trail. She’s been in the cycling business for 10 years and says she has never seen business like this.
While she wouldn’t go into specific numbers, Demartino said Pedal has “definitely been busier than ever.”
“As a small business, especially during the time of COVID, things could’ve gone two ways. And so there was a moment in time when we thought we were going to get shut down, and literally within the next 24 hours bike shops were deemed essential,” Dimartino said. “So we’re open and we’ve stayed open the whole time. We’re very grateful for that. It’s been very busy.”
Dimartino says Pedal is selling bikes faster than they can assemble them. In the corner of the shop sits over a dozen boxes of bicycles in need of assembly. It’s the shop’s "build queue." Demartino says all the boxes arrived over the course of a weekend and Pedal’s employees are hustling to get them built.
According to NPR, this bump in business has been enjoyed by bike shops across the country. In March, when COVID-19 began spreading rapidly through the United States, bike sales were up over 50% from the same time last year. Pedal’s owner Andrew Chrismen said this is due to people wanting to get out of the house.
“There was a stay-at-home order and all of a sudden people were looking for activities to do, so they were buying new bikes, getting bikes out of the garage, getting things fixed up so they could spend time together, which is pretty awesome,” Chrismen said.
Because of the high demand, Pedal says it can’t even answer phones reliably, so they’re asking customers to place orders online where the inventory is updated every day. In order to comply with social-distancing recommendations, Pedal is only allowing five customers in the shop at a time. Repairs, however, can be done outside.
Another observation from the employees at Pedal is that it’s no longer mostly serious cyclists coming into the shop. There are more first-time customers.
Dimartino says she hopes that she will be able to look back on this time in Pedal as a positive memory.
“Getting kids on bikes with their families and teaching people the whole love and passion we have for it has been awesome,” Dimartino said. “To see just dozens and dozens of families out riding, it warms my heart. And that’s why I’m here.”
This story is from Rocky Mountain PBS, a nonprofit providing news and information across Colorado over the air and online. Used by permission. For more, and to support Rocky Mountain PBS, visit rmpbs.org.
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