Business Spotlight: Bike and Brew
Bike And Brew is unlike any bike or coffee shop you've visited before — because it's a combination of both!
"Weston (co-owner) and I have been fortunate enough to have spent many years in the cycling industry, ranging from the grom who would clean bikes to sales to ownership," says co-owner Travis Ferguson. "Having been involved in opening up a more traditional style of bike shop, we both recognized that our hearts were somewhere else. We knew Calgary was ready for a new style of bike shop that meshed the two amazing cultures of coffee and cycling. We wanted to bring back the old school vibe of the mom- and-pop bike shop and detune the cycling shopping experience. Bike shopping can be a pretty intimidating experience, even for an experienced buyer, so we wanted to create the most positive buying experience possible. For us coffee and bikes make our world a better place, so we wanted to share this love with Calgarians."
Travis and Weston were correct in gauging how positive reactions would be to Bike and Brew.
"The number one factor in Bike and Brew's success is constantly providing the best possible experience for everyone who walks through our doors," Travis explains. "This starts with our staff who love everything about bikes, coffee, current events, pretty much anything, so beware! We definitely are the little guy on the block, but we make sure that we strongly believe in everything we sell. Being bikers and coffee lovers makes it easier because we only sell what we personally believe in and would gladly purchase ourselves."
Although they love what they do, entrepreneurship is not easy — even when the business is a success.
"To be honest the hardest thing, especially in the early years with being a small business owner, is time management. When your business is taking up 23.5 hours or your day, other areas in your life can definitely suffer," Travis muses. "If I had to do it again, I would definitely make a much better effort in dealing with the life and business balance. I think it is natural to focus so much time and energy on the success of the business, but it is equally important to keep the rest of your world as a priority as well. The whole experience has provided a huge learning and growing experience."
He continues, "I think its key whenever you go into business with someone that you trust them and can work positively with them. I won't lie and say we haven't had our challenges, but I wouldn't change having Weston as my business partner for the world!"
Travis is happy that no matter what, they have retained the special vibe that makes Bikes and Brew unique.
"Everyday I am blown away by the people that come through our doors that might never have thought about coming into a bike shop in the past. I think the chill vibe of the shop and the friendly atmosphere leads to the best possible experience."
It's no secret that Calgary was hit hard by the recent recession, and new legislation has been making it difficult for some small business owners to keep pace with the many changes.
"A huge benefit of being a small shop is that we can quickly adapt and change to the dynamic retail world," Travis speaks to how Bike and Brews manages — and excels. "Ultimately we need to stock what people want and as everyone knows, this can change in an instant. Our buying and inventory model also allows us to respond to changes and avoid carrying hefty inventory costs. Gone are the days when someone would come in and lay down a huge chunk of cash on a $10,000 bike, so this is why we concentrate on the more wallet-friendly price points and make sure we get the customer the best value for what they want out of the bike.
"I think it is easy to focus on the negativity of our current economic situation; we have decided to look at what is actually going well. For example, people are now parking their cars or downsizing and dusting off their old bike or, better yet, buying a new one. This not only saves money, but is also a great way to stay in shape and avoid the grey hairs that come from sitting in traffic. Our amazing cycling infrastructure makes using a bike as a main mode of transportation safe and feasible now. The increase in minimum wage has put a little twist on hiring new staff, especially inexperienced workers, but I think overall it is important to ensure that all workers receive a fair wage."
He admits that doing business in Calgary has its perks.
"Ultimately it is the people that make Calgary great. They are the heart of the city. Calgarians continually impress me with their generosity, kindness, adventurous and entrepreneurial spirit and their commitment to making Calgary the best place to live in the world. I think the biggest thing about Calgary that inspires Bike and Brew is the entrepreneurial spirit. If you can dream it and put your dreams into action, Calgary will be here to support you every step of the way. Calgarians see the value in living a healthy and happy lifestyle, so its amazing to feel the support from the city."
For Bike and Brew, support is something they enjoy giving as much as receiving.
"Community is a huge priority for Bike and Brew," says Travis. "We are fortunate to be involved in everything from supporting local school initiatives, local and city-wide cycling clubs, community care facility projects, fundraising efforts, and sponsoring local grassroot races and athletes."
Are you inspired to visit Bike and Brew yet? If not, what they have in store should be the final inspiration you need to check out this charming shop.
"Our highest selling bike is the Kona Dew Plus. What makes this bike so attractive is its versatility, comfort, and great value in a commuter bike. On the drip side the classic Americano is the top choice. Fratello has spoiled us not only with their amazing coffee beans, but they are a top-notch classy bunch of people!"
Bike and Brew is looking forward to some menu changes, and the warm weather ahead.
"Oh boy, 2019 is going to be a great year for Bike and Brew!" concludes Travis. "Just in time for the spring patio season, keep an eye out for our new outside sitting area where you can sip your coffee in the fresh air and watch the world go by. We will be expanding our food menu and after a long haul, we will finally finish off the brew and be serving a selection of locally selected beers, ciders and wines."
Learn more about Bike and Brew at gobikeandbrew.ca.