When in Chicago last month I was fortunate enough to hang out and spend some time with Heritage Bicycles. I love what these guys are doing and took the opportunity to ask them a few questions about their store, own branded bikes and position within Chicago. Click here to visit them or press read more to read the interview.
There seems to be a nice balance between good coffee, food and of course bikes, backed up by your mantra on the wall.
Is it this combination that inspired Heritage or something entirely different?
Everything we do is inspiring what we do next. I consider Heritage to be in an ever evolving state of growth with many factors that influence how we grow. Everything from our customers to our staff have a huge influence for taking Heritage to the next stage in our development.
What was the initial focus/passion, food or coffee?
The initial focus was bikes. I felt the bicycle was an extension of urban living and that the bike builder/culture has become overly complicated. I wanted to create a lifestyle brand based around bicycles and the “ride” instead of performance and competition.
Tell us more about Heritage the brand, and the bicycles, these are fabricated locally….?
Our bicycles are locally fabricated. The idea for Heritage long term is to focus on hyper local fabrication of bicycles and goods. The end game is to set up smaller fab shops across the country with a store front just like Heritage. The brand will come together online to create a larger catalog of bicycles.
There’s a truly “American Made’ and ‘heritage’ feel that permeates the whole aesthetic of the store, some how it feels rooted in the past but at the same time totally on point. How do you think this has been achieved?
The feel of the store is just an extension of our philosophy of our products and branding. It is genuine and real. We did not hire deisigners, PR firm, marketing experts….we do it all of ourselves. The space itself has qualities that can never be replicated, the way the sun comes in in the morning and the beams of light that come in in the afternoon, it really is picturesque. Couple this with the energy coming out of our bike room and it makes for an amazing experience for our guests.
How is the cycling community in Chicago and how does it differ to your experience in NYC, what do you think you guys offer to the cycling ‘scene’, how do you embed yourselves in it?
The 365 cyclist are soo hardcore here. Brutal winters and scorching summer days does not keep these road warriors off their bikes. It has only been in the last few years that the city has started to take care of cyclist and their needs. There will be a lot of growth of the already amazing cycling culture here because of the city’s effort into making it the most bike friendly in the country…of course, I think when NYC put their efforts into making cycling more accesible for their citizens it made urban cycling mainstream and a “must have” for any livable city.
As for our outreach, we support many things going on in Chicago, whether it is a small group of riders or Active Trans, we are as involved as time and money allows.
Was the neighbourhood your store resides in picked for any specific reason?
Yes and no. I did the research, we are in a underserved but disposal income area. No independent coffee shops and only one bike shop. Most people tried to talk me out of coming to this location since it has a history of being slow but I loved the space and knew I could do what I want with no expectations. This was appealing to me on many levels.
Whats in the future for you guys?
A couple more bike models
but ask me in a week and it will be something different….always evolving.