Cycling ‘convenience’ comes to town
Winter isn’t usually a good season for a bike ride. And in Wisconsin, spring doesn’t always knock its colder counterpart out of the way at a predictable time.
But despite a frigid spring thus far, a new bicycle shop in Hatchery Hill has received good community feedback and business since its mid-March opening, said Fitchburg Cycles owner Edwin Benet.
“The community has embraced us in a huge way,” Benet said. “Every customer that comes in here just has been just thanking us, ‘thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,’ and that’s been really warming.”
And he is confident the support will only grow once that warmer weather comes. With a location at 2970 Cahill Main in the Hatchery Hill shopping center, their location is a space he didn’t expect to ever come open.
“I actually had my eye on this location for a really long time, but I didn’t ever think it’d be available,” he said. “This complex is one thing, but the endcap was totally another. When I saw that become available that’s when I really made the decision to put some serious effort into this.”
Benet said he first thought about opening his own bike shop in 2006, but “couldn’t find the right space. I couldn’t get the right price, there were a lot of issues and it just didn’t come to fruition.”
But when he finally got the chance, he said he simply felt Fitchburg’s bike community has been waiting for its own bike shop for awhile.
“I knew it was something that’s been high on the list of the people here for a long time,” he said. “But people can ask for something and then once they receive it, how much they really appreciate it you never know. But I’ve got a really good feeling from that so far.”
Benet began leasing the space in October of last year, and said it took about four months to convert the old video rental spot to a space that is now lined with bikes, racks, seats and most any equipment a bike rider could need.
“It’s been a lot of work,” Benet said.
Benet’s passion for bikes began when he worked in a bicycle shop as a high school student, and he simply kept on doing it, most recently working at a pair of bike shops in Madison before opening the store.
The shop, with eight employees, carries Giant bikes and parts, which Benet said is best because the company manufactures bikes for many of the other major cycling companies around the world.
Benet said he was looking forward to serving the Fitchburg community however he can as the business grows. He expressed lots of gratitude toward those who have already given his shop a chance.
“Being a resident of Fitchburg and feeling like the community was underserved as far as bike shops,” he said. “I just looked at the community as a little more sophisticated, a little more outgoing, a little more knowledgeable. It just seemed like a bike shop here made sense because people would probably appreciate the convenience.
“It’s just great…to see people come in and see people be appreciative of the fact that we’re here. That makes my day.”