After spending five years in Milwaukee’s Waker’s Point neighborhood, Coast In Bikes is changing direction.
[caption id="attachment_341929" align="alignright" width="345"] Cream City Hostel will be located at E.at the northeast corner of E. Center and N. Holton streets.[/caption]
The bicycle dealer and repair shop will be relocating to a smaller space at Cream City Hostel in Riverwest.
The hostel is currently being developed by Cost In Bikes owner Carolyn Weber and her new business partners, Juli Kaufmann and Wendy Menich at the former Centro del Nino School, 500 E. Center St.
The two-story, 7,980-square-foot building will have a small space on the first floor for the bike shop. Coast In Bikes will be open only a few days a week and available by appointments to allow more one-on-one time with customers, Weber said.
Weber is also planning to purchase and renovate an old school bus to use as a mobile pop-up bike shop.
“There are a ton of food trucks, but mobile retail shops are less common,” Weber said.
Weber plans to take her shop to farmers markets so customers can test out the bikes. She can also repair bikes on the go.
“There are very few cargo bike dealers in the Midwest,” she said. “It will be easier for me to go to my customers in Appleton and other areas versus having a brick and mortar shop.”
Coast In Bikes will remain open until October or March 2019, depending on the lease agreement Weber can work out with her landlord.
Weber said her revamped Coast In Bikes store budget has not been set, but she plans to refinance her current loan with the Wisconsin Women's Business Initiative Corporation.
So far, the $1 million hostel project has raised $850,000, mostly through community donations, Weber said.
Coast In Bikes is currently leasing 3,000 square feet at 838 S. 1st St. Weber said news of well-known regional bike chain Wheel & Sprocket buying a 10,800-square-foot warehouse at 187 E. Becher St. in Bay View last fall to open a store made her begin to rethink her own store.
“I can’t compete with Wheel & Sprocket,” Weber said. “I also can’t run my bike shop in Walker’s Point and open a hostel in Riverwest – I would go nuts. I am changing our business model to reflect what Coast In Bikes needs to be profitable and what we need in our personal lives.”