Ski Country Sports is birthing an offshoot bike shop adjacent to its North Asheville store. The new outlet, Asheville Bicycle Company, will occupy about 3,000 square feet at 1000 Merrimon Avenue in a space that previously housed AAA Carolinas for 15 years.
When renovations are complete this spring, the shopping plaza will house “two stores within one store,” says owner Craig Friedrich. “I’m excited about it. It’ll give us a dedicated, much larger footprint of bicycles year-round than we’ve currently had, which is great. All under one roof with two different doors.”
Ski Country Sports opened in 1990 and first started selling bikes in 1995. In addition to ski and snowboard gear and apparel, the retail outlet has grown in that time to offer a range of bikes, supplies and repair. The further expansion will help the shop keep up with a growing local bike boom, says Friedrich.
“Biking is continuing to grow for us. Asheville has a pretty unique bike culture, and it continues to grow. We feel like there’s a need for a bigger shop,” he says. “It’s going to help us because we’ve always felt restricted because everybody thought of us as a ski shop. We have as much staff for bikes as most of the other shops in town do, but because of our name we were always looked down upon as not a full-service bike shop.”
Asheville Bicycle Company is scheduled to open in April.
Meanwhile, West Asheville recently saw a shakeup. Pro Bikes closed its shop at 610 Haywood Road and Black Mountain’s Epic Cycles opened a second location on the West Asheville strip. The small Epic Cycles shop began operating this fall under Odd’s Cafe at 800B Haywood Road. The plan is to focus on repair service as well as selling new mountain bikes.
“West Asheville is an exciting area to be in with both its commuting corridor and close proximity to Asheville’s mountain biking hub, Bent Creek. We are excited to be the shop that feeds it,” says Allan Hightower. “We’ve definitely gained a lot of experience as a shop over the past 15 years here in Black Mountain, and we’re all about making sure that everyone has a positive biking experience. We are hopeful that the West Asheville community can embrace the Epic Cycles team as their trustworthy salespeople, mechanics and co-bike lovers.”