Washington Bikes: The Store

We’re opening a store and we hope you’ll come visit, shop, and volunteer to help it succeed.

Why a Store?

The site of the office in Seattle gives us a unique opportunity, located as we are just a few blocks from King Street Station in the heart of Pioneer Square. Hundreds of thousands of people pass our door each year bent on travel, shopping, exploration of historic Seattle, and the many sports events that bring Sounders, Seahawks, and Mariners fans down our street.

We hope to take advantage of the location to accomplish several elements of our mission.

Pick up an I Bike WA t-shirt in silky quick-dry fabric--great gift for that biking friend who says we need better laws and facilities, since you can say the gift comes wrapped with support for advocacy!

Pick up an I Bike WA t-shirt in silky quick-dry fabric–great gift for that biking friend who says we need better laws and facilities, since you can say the gift comes wrapped with support for advocacy!

1) Increase the number of people who support our work directly with their dues. Members will receive a 10% discount on purchases on the store and dues, as always, are tax-deductible. People stopping in to shop will be invited to join and get the discount on the spot.

2) Spread the word about bike travel/tourism in Washington state. We already distribute bike maps from all over the state. We’ll sell guidebooks—including our own Cycling Sojourner Washington, coming out spring 2014—and answer questions to help people plan great bike trips.

If you’re arriving by Amtrak or taking light rail into downtown from SeaTac, we can be your first stop in town to get rolling with a Seattle bike map and much more.

3) Share expertise with people interested in learning more about bicycling. We’re a bike knowledge hub—a great place to ask about upcoming rides in the area and around the state, pick up a copy of our pocket guide to Washington state bike law, get advice on lane positioning or whatever else you’ve been wondering about from our 3 League-Certified Instructors (Josh, Seth, and Jack)—you name it and if we don’t know it now, we’ll research it.

4) Increase the unrestricted revenues we need to accomplish our mission while we make bicycling ever more visible. The store’s mix will fill a distinct niche, not competing with the supplies, gear, services, and custom frames of Seattle-area bike shops or with the great bike-friendly fashion available at Hub and Bespoke in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood. People looking for a gift for a biking friend will find what they need, from posters and notecards to books, jewelry, and art. We regularly have tourists stop in to ask if we sell “bike souvenirs of Washington” and now the answer will be yes.

We also want to showcase great Washington bike businesses. Bicycling supports a larger sector of the state’s economy than many people realize and we can put that on parade with future exhibits and information.

How You Can Help

Volunteers: We plan to staff the store with volunteers as much as possible. You’ll handle retail transactions, field questions, share your bike knowledge, and when there’s a lull we can use help checking and pricing inventory, looking online for more great things we can stock, writing answers for the FAQ section of our site, or researching bike travel destinations. Chances are, if one person comes in with a question others have it too, and we want to build our online clearinghouse of information.

We’ll provide training, support, and if you’re helping out while you job-hunt we’re happy to supply the references you earn.

Vendors: We’re looking for made-in-Washington bike-themed items to sell. If you’re upcycling bike parts into jewelry, clocks, and lamps—if you’re an artist with a bikey piece—if you make something you know will appeal to a bike-oriented audience—if you’re an author who’s written a bike book and want to hold an autograph session—contact us.

Visitors: Come by the shop! We’re starting up with fairly minimal stock that will grow over time. More inventory is arriving every day. We’ll be open Monday-Friday, 9:30am-4:30pm.

Our new WA Bikes jerseys are on order and the coffee cups are already in, along with delicious direct trade, organic Gear Grinder Blend whole bean coffees in medium, dark, and decaf (which you can also order direct for home delivery so you never, ever run out). Cute bike socks make a great stocking stuffer and we’ll have Bikeyface posters and a great selection of books, cards, and magnets from Elly Blue’s Taking the Lane line-up, among other things.

How We Got this Far

Melissa Beams and Jeannie LaFerla discuss placement of fixtures donated by REI.

Melissa Beams (left) and Jeannie LaFerla discuss placement of fixtures donated by REI.

We have a great team making this happen! Miriam Works of Works Consulting is guiding our operational plans; Jeannie LaFerla of Spot On Design and Melissa Beams of REI made the retail floor space come together; the REI flagship store donated fixtures; Miranda Geiszler of REI oversaw the fixtures donation; Andy Goulding developed our sign concept; and Eric Abbott of Process Logic serves as our project manager and is overseeing our signage application with the Preservation Board, fabrication and installation of the sign, and ongoing work to keep the whole store effort on track. Our neighbors in the building, Back Alley Bike Repair, make it easy to answer the question, “So, are you a bike shop?” with “No, but there’s one in the alley!”

We appreciate the encouragement we’ve received from our landlord Todd Vogel, owner of the Nord Building; Nikki Somers, building manager; and Karen True of the Alliance for Pioneer Square.

For People Who Can’t Get to the Store

We have a few things available for online ordering right now and will grow the online inventory a bit over time, although we won’t put the whole store online. As we participate in bike events around the state we’ll bring along some of the goodies.

 

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  1. […] off to run an errand at the display store (picking up ornaments to decorate the windows at the Washington Bikes bike-themed gift shop) so our total mileage for the trip was […]