As commenters Steve and Bill noted, Mercer Island is finally getting a bike shop: Veloce Velo, currently of Issaquah and soon to be of Issaquah and MI.
Here’s an interview with the owner, Graham:
Why Mercer Island? How’d you chose the location?
When I was looking for a location to open with three years ago, Mercer Island was actually top of my list. Back in 2007 there were practically no vacancies for retail space anywhere on the Eastside, so we opened in historic Downtown Issaquah. Earlier this year our landlord approached us about the old Hollywood Video building which they also managed – they thought it would be perfect for a bike shop and after seeing it we wholeheartedly agreed!
When are you opening?
We don’t have an exact date right now, but it will definitely be in the first half of August. We’re waiting for final approval from the city on the plumbing and lighting, but it should all come together quickly once we get that done. We have all the inventory and fixtures just waiting in Issaquah ready to come over!
Tell me about Veloce Velo. What kind of a bike store is it, who does it serve and will the MI location have the same focus as the Issaquah location?
We’re a bike shop focused on enthusiasts, and can help all sorts of people from those who are getting started in the sport all the way up to those looking for the ultimate high-end. Our staff are very experienced and knowledgeable and we also have a very friendly atmosphere – that combination is unlike a lot of other shops in the area. We’re going to focus on road and family bikes in Mercer Island, and mountain bikes in Issaquah.
Are you primarily targeting MI residents or the area, including folks who ride on the Island but don’t live here?
Many of our best customers live on Mercer Island and come to visit us regularly in Issaquah. Serving them better is definitely a primary goal of our expansion, but we’re also positive that Mercer Island’s central location will attract more customers from Seattle and the surrounding area.
Why, in your opinion, has no other bike store opened on MI despite how much cycling activity it has?
I can say that the low vacancy rate three years ago was what kept us from opening on Mercer Island initially, so perhaps the economic environment had something to do with the absence. There are also some very strong competitors in downtown Bellevue and Seattle, and without doing something different it would be easy to get lost in the shuffle.
Are you planning to lead any group rides out of your Mercer Island location?
We are going to do a shop ride every Saturday morning. There will be more details on our web site when we’re a little closer to opening.
Any fun events planned for the grand opening?
I’m firming up the details on the Grand Opening, but it is looking very interesting so far with a lot of industry people flying in from around the country for technical seminars and new product launches. We even have an ex-Pro rider who will be hammering on a group ride around the island, daring locals to keep up!
Tour de France photo credit: ndumas on Flickr.