November 17th, 2014 9:34 pm by Nathan Baker
A new business expects to roll into downtown Johnson City this spring, building on the area’s recent turn toward two-wheeled transport.
Chad Wolfe will open a Trek Bicycle concept store, the second in the state, in the ground floor of the rehabilitated London’s Lofts building, overlooking Fountain Square at the intersection of Commerce and West Market streets.
Wolfe, a 19-year veteran of the national bicycle manufacturer and retailer, said the location in the 94-year-old former hardware store will work on the same concept as a Harley-Davidson dealer or an Apple store.
“It’s locally owned and operated, but we exclusively sell the brands we represent,” he said. “There are about 400 retail stores in the country that sell Trek products, but there are less than 100 concept stores.”
The nearest brand-exclusive store in the company’s chain is in Chattanooga, more than 200 miles away.
Wolfe said it was the developing downtown community in Johnson City and the area’s positive reception of pedal power of late that attracted him and the company.
“We really found Johnson City working backward trying to find amazing places to ride,” he said, noting that the region contains “bucket-list” roads fit for road bicyclists and plenty of dirt opportunities for mountain bikers. “(The location) is so close to the Tweetsie Trail, too, it just seemed like we were a perfect fit.”
Brent Long, the owner and developer of the building, said the retail store fits well with the overall active-lifestyle demographic he’s hoping to attract to the lofts upstairs.
Long before the retail tenant was announced, Long planned a bicycle parking and storage space for residents and touted an intended connection to the new walking and biking trail.
“The tenants who live in lofts are going to be active folks, and they’re going to appreciate being able to have that amenity on the first floor,” the building owner said. “We’re very excited about getting this lease signed.”
The 20 apartments in the top two floors are nearly half leased, with an expected move-in date in December.
The lease for the retailer is more proof the owner is in it for a long tour, Long said. Wolfe requested a 10-year lease, a relatively long term, in the landlord’s experience.
After the 5,300-square-foot space is turned over to Wolfe to begin the store’s construction in January, the store should open by late March or early April, a doable date to handle, barring major unforeseen delays.
A national retailer moving downtown is a positive sign for local economic officials, as well, who say the arrival of Trek is an affirmation things are proceeding well.
“Having a Trek store in Johnson City will draw cyclists from all of East Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina,” Dianna Cantler, Downtown Development Manager for the Washington County Economic Development Council, said. “The closest Trek stores are in Chattanooga and Charlotte, so having a full service Trek dealer will be a great draw. The benefit to our local economy will be wonderful; we hope those who come to the store will also spend some time in the other downtown retailers and our local restaurants.”
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Read more: Bicycle chain making Trek to downtown Johnson City | Johnson City Press http://www.johnsoncitypress.com/article/122130/bicycle-chain-making-trek-to-downtown-johnson-city#ixzz3JUFG0xbh
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