Julia Miller, co-owner of CityHub Cyclery with Jennifer Wever, took bike repair and shop management training in Oregon before returning to Muskegon to open the business. Photo by Rachel Weick
(As seen on WZZM TV 13) A downtown Muskegon shop looks to become a hub for bike fans.
CityHub Cyclery, a bike shop catering to enthusiasts and beginners alike, opened last week at 585 W. Clay Ave.
Incorporating sales, repairs and rentals — and a healthy dose of social interaction — the new shop infuses a hub atmosphere into the historic, renovated M.F. Carlson’s Food Market building.
Julia Miller, co-owner of CityHub Cyclery, said she felt there was a niche for women in the bike store market, and decided to pursue opening a shop after being let go from a previous job and also based on her love of cycling.
“There are not too many women who own bike stores in Michigan, especially on the west coast,” said Miller. “So I just always wanted to do it — and also to get more women into biking.”
CityHub Cyclery is owned by Miller and Jennifer Wever, who bring a combined 10 years of bike sales and management experience to the operation. Miller was trained at the United Bicycle Institute in Portland, Ore., where she studied professional bike repair and shop operation. She has experience working in bike shops and has been an active cyclist for more than 25 years. Wever also attended the institute, studying bicycle frame building, and has more than 20 years of project management and engineering experience.
Offering top brand bikes, cruisers, gear and bike maintenance, CityHub Cyclery features an extensive range of services. Some of the premium brand bikes carried at CityHub include Felt, Yuba, Kona and Detroit Bikes. The shop also provides bike rentals, cycling clothing, and expert bike services such as tune-ups, overhauls, installations and adjustments.
Although the shop caters to both men and women, Miller said she wants to provide a comfortable atmosphere that encourages women to learn more about their bikes and how to work on them.
“Going out to Portland and seeing so many women involved in bike shops and actually owning their own, you just don’t see it back here,” said Miller.
To create a welcoming atmosphere, CityHub offers specialty coffees and wireless Internet for patrons. The vision is to provide a place for interested bikers, from casual riders to avid cyclists, to spend time while waiting for repairs or shopping. The service department is located in the shop area as a way for customers to interact with the mechanics while bikes are being serviced.
It was while doing research and pursuing the idea of opening a bike shop with Weaver that Miller said they realized the bike market was changing.
“They are offering the hub,” said Miller. “Our idea was to actually have a bike shop/coffee shop, but that was a little bit harder than we realized to get passed to the small business loan people. They didn’t want to touch coffee, so we just went for the bike shop but wanted to put a cool factor into the older building.”
CityHub Cyclery is located in the 1891 Carlson’s Food Market building and close to the Muskegon Lakeshore Trail, which is nearly 10 miles long. Miller said the renovations to the historic building were a labor of love, and they tried to maintain and incorporate the character of the building. Some of the renovations included sandblasting the ceilings, stripping the paint on the front of the building and replacing some of the rusted tin.