Kent Cycle Finding Its Niche
Second bike shop to open in Kent area this summer wants to serve under-served cyclists
You won't find any $8,000 mountain bikes or electronic-shift road bicycles at Kent Cycle.
But you will find a small business striving to meet the needs of Kent's underground cycling enthusiasts.
Mario Morelos and Stefan Meyer opened Kent Cycle in March because they both wanted to foster a passion for bicycles that started when they were children.
Before opening the shop on Lake Street, Meyer had been buying, repairing and selling used bikes online out of his garage. Morelos, who owns Localingua, a language translation service in Kent, talked Meyer into partnering with him on the bicycle shop.
"The other reason too is being really invested in Kent," Morelos said. "I'd like to do something for Kent — leave my stamp."
As bicycle enthusiasts, Meyer and Morelos saw there were no full-service bicycle shops in Kent prior to this year.
"It just seemed like good timing," Meyer said. "Everybody felt Kent needed a bike shop. It was kind of under served."
Good timing indeed, as new bike shop Portage Cyclery opened just outside the city limits in Franklin Township earlier this year.
Kent Cycle is at 115 Lake St. just a few hundred feet away from an entrance to The Portage Hike and Bike Trail off Lake Street. The shop also incorporates Crooked River Recyclery, a Kent-based effort to develop a regional bicycle cooperative.
Josh Goran, one of the brainchilds behind the Crooked River Recyclery, said the cooperative is evolving into a bicycle workshop using Kent Cycle as a base. Goran is the shop's head mechanic and manager.
"We've quickly been learning a lot about the niches in the bicycle world around here that haven't been filled," Goran said. "This place feels, to me, like the sort of Kent, townie bike shop."
Colorful paintings hang on the walls mixed in with merchandise. The building that houses the shop has an industrial feel thanks to its surroundings and origins as a concrete and building supplier.
A truck cycle stood for sale on the shop floor while a customer's Cannondale was up on the work bench.
Meyer, who rides one of his several bikes to work as often as he can from his Kent home, said one of their employees is an avid mountain bike racer while another rides road bikes frequently. Meyer described himself as a recreational bike rider.
"There's all different levels of enthusiasm when it comes to bikes," he said.