Last updated on May 15th, 2019 at 04:55 pm
Wheel & Sprocket could open its first Milwaukee bike shop in the city’s Bay View neighborhood.
The store would be located in a vacant building at 187 E. Becher St., and could include food and drinks and a public gathering area, said Noel Kegel, co-owner of Wheel & Sprocket.
“The holy trinity is bikes, beer and coffee,” Kegel said. “Our core business is bikes, but we want to integrate complementary experiences. Retail brick and mortar is evolving, so on this site, we are looking for more than just a shop.”
Kegel has an option to purchase the 12,000-square-foot building from Carol Cobb of Brookfield, and is currently working his way through the approval process through the city of Milwaukee to change the zoning of the building.
He has also hired an architect and contractor, who he doesn’t want to name, and is doing a cost analysis of the project. Kegel will spend approximately $900,000 on the project and hire about 20 people for the store, according to documents submitted to the city.
He would like to open the new store in spring 2019.
“Nothing is a done deal,” Kegel said. “There is a lot that could happen that makes this go sideways.”
Kegel’s father, Chris began working at Wheel & Sprocket in 1973 as a bicycle mechanic. He eventually became a partner in the business and by 1989, was the sole owner and president.
Chris Kegel died in February from liver cancer.
Today, Wheel & Sprocket has locations in Fox Point, Hales Corners, Brookfield and Delafield, two in the Fox Valley and two in the Chicago suburbs.
Noel Kegel said his father’s death was a shock to the system, but he and his sister are excited to keep Chris’s legacy going and continue to move the business forward.
“We are here to stay and continue to grow the business and keep it going for another 40 years,” Kegel said.
Kegel said the intent was always to open a store in Milwaukee and the family looked for several years at spaces between downtown and Bay View.
“It is a market that is really different than it was 10 years ago,” Kegel said “It’s revitalized and has new energy and new development. Retail follows that. My sister and I live in the city and we are committed to seeing Milwaukee be a vibrant place. Bikes are part of that too.”