Bart Luther and Daniel Wijdenes were concerned about opening Biloxi Bicycle Works during a pandemic. But as it turns out, their timing was perfect.
“With the various restrictions that the pandemic has imposed on everyone, people have been looking for new avenues to go out and do things, and cycling is great for that — not only from a fitness angle, but also for overall mental health,” Luther says. “Once you start riding, you can’t help but be happier!”
Before their retail location opened on Biloxi’s Howard Avenue in March, the co-founders were operating mostly online and working with the military and government community, including veterans. The Coast was underserved in the cycling and multisport market for years, they say, but now, Biloxi Bicycle Works is pleased to serve patrons from all walks of life.
“Some of our customers are looking for an alternate form of transportation; some are wanting to get fit and others are competitive,” Wijdenes says. “We have a complete offering of bikes, running shoes and swimwear, so you can get everything you need here whether you swim, bike or run.”
According to Luther and Wijdenes, the biggest challenge for the growing business has been getting inventory. With gyms closed and families needing fun, safe activities to do together during lockdown, retailers scrambled to keep up with the demand for bikes. Sales of bikes, helmets and other related accessories grew 75 percent to $1 billion as of April compared to the previous year, according to market research company NPD.
“We’ve been blessed with great partnerships with our vendors,” Wijdenes says, “and as a result have been fortunate in many cases to secure a great selection of product even when the rest of the industry has been struggling to do that.”
The store’s inventory includes quality brands like Specialized, Pivot Cycles, Bianchi Cycles, Altra Running, Olukai, Tyr, OneWheel, Garmin, Wahoo, Theragun and AfterShokz. If you own a bike that needs some work or want better performance, the shop can help with that, too — offering service and repair as well as sales. Biloxi Bicycle Works also holds organized rides and events. “If you’re going to buy a bike, visit the folks that live and breathe this, not a big box store that’s just selling you another product,” Luther says. “We all have many years of experience, and it shows in what we can offer our customers.”
As avid cyclists themselves, Luther explains, the Biloxi Bicycle Works team enjoys helping others experience the great outdoors and improve their health and wellbeing.
“The Gulf Coast is such a great place to live and has so much to offer, so we want folks to be able to share in that,” he says. “With the growth we’re seeing all around us in the region, it’s an exciting time to be here and grow with the community.”
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