One Chapter Closes & Another Begins!

I’ve been waiting to make this announcement as I wanted to respect my current employer, Fitchburg Cycles. Tomorrow is my last official day there though and I feel it’s time for me to update those who give a care on where I’ll be headed!

I’ll be joining the team at Wheel & Sprocket Middleton as a Store Manager. I’m nervous and excited for the new opportunity. I’ve spent a cumulative nearly four years working with Edwin and the folx at Fitchburg Cycles. I considered it my home shop, even when I wasn’t physically in the shop working. I’ve held many events there, took on a lot of responsibilities that kept the shop running (purchasing, social media management, and running the sales floor), and learned so much from my time at the shop. It was a bit of a revolving door of employees during my four years there, but will for sure miss my most recent co-workers.

It will be a bittersweet ending of my time there, but I know that it was time for me to move on. For those who aren’t familiar with Wheel & Sprocket, they are a Midwestern regional chain that was founded in 1973. Chris Kegel was the longtime president of the company until he sadly passed away in 2017. I had the pleasure of working with Chris during my time at Saris managing the silent auction and assisting in planning the annual Saris Gala. I also had ties to Chris and his family during my time as a board member for the Wisconsin Bicycle Federation.

Throughout my time at Saris and the Bike Fed I had met Chris’s daughters¬† Amelia and Tessa as well as his sons Noel and Julian. Noel has taken over as president of the company while Amelia heads up the events and marketing. They’ve grown as a company within the last few years with expanding to new markets such as Middleton and Evanston, IL. They’ve also been expanding and updating their locations in and around the greater Milwaukee area, making for clean and modern looking shops.

It’s nice knowing that while they are a “chain store” that they are still owned and run by the Kegel family. Wheel has a great reputation outside of their shops for giving back to the community. They sponsor a number of local charity rides, started the Chris Kegel foundation which provides funding for cycling infrastructure projects, and they donate funds to a lot of cycling non-profits. Their ride support is always a welcome site when rolling up to a cycling event as they always have great mechanical support.

My hope is once our world gets back to normal after COVID that I’ll be able to join an event or two as it’s always something I’ve enjoyed while working in bike shops.

chriskegelfoundation.org

Another aspect I’m excited about with heading to a new shop is I get to work with some new brands. I have a lot of love and respect for the brands I worked with at Fitchburg Cycles, but I will get to now sell brands like Salsa and All-City who make some fun bikes and products I’ve been a fan of for many years.

I’ll still get the opportunity to sell Liv and Giant, which is exciting and they are wonderful bike brands. Some other brands that will be new for me to sell include Ortlieb (some of the nicest pannier and bike packing gear on the market), Kuat racks, Terra Trike, Tern, Yuba, Felt, and another 4 lettered brand that lots of people know. I shall not name them at this time due to their association with the police bike issue, so I’d just rather not go there. I’m trying this whole if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. It gets me into a little less trouble, but for those who know me…I’m pretty candid about my thoughts and opinions on things.

The opportunity is awesome and I’m excited to getting my feet wet with learning their systems, the new products, the new brands, and meeting a new customer base! I know some of my existing regulars will likely come see me at the new shop and I look forward to exposing them to some new offerings as well.

I don’t know that I’d write much about my day to day job as I tend to like to just talk about my bike, reviewing products, and the rides I’m doing. If anything cool pops up though I’ll be sure to share about it.

That’s all for now. Thank you for reading and as always EAT WELL, BIKE OFTEN!

Cassandra

Business Planning

We just wanted to give everyone an update letting you know we’ll be putting things on hold for a bit with the blog, possibly doing some re-structuring and figuring out our groove.

Keri and I have been hard at work, putting together a kick-ass business plan for Spoke Haven. We have a deadline coming up for submitting our plan for a course we both took this spring.¬† It’s getting down to the wire! The hardest part has been forecasting financials and really carving out the type of shop we’d like to have. We’ve now got a pretty clear vision of who we’d like to be and it’s a lot different from any other shop in the Madison area.

I want to take a moment to thank our friends with small businesses who have offered up some really great advice. Coast In Bikes, NessAlla Kombucha, Chrysalis Hair and Body, Hinckley Design & Production, and the Froth House. We’re very lucky to have a wonderful community of small business owners who are willing to help out other up and comers. Please support their businesses!

It may take awhile to get everything going, but we have some fundraising goals for next year as well as some events and promotions to help get the word out about the future shop. There’s going to be lots of touring of commercial space and talks with distributors happening. We’re both really excited to see our dreams of small business ownership coming to life!

There’s some talk of doing either a Kickstarter or IndieGoGo campaign. While we’ll be the owners of the shop, we want our customers, friends, and family to feel like they too own a little part of it. Not to mention, giving back to those who choose to support our endeavors! Having a fun community space is really important to us and we want to be more than your average corporate or overstuffed shop.

Spoke Haven really wants to support and collaborate with local businesses and manufacturers of bike related goods. There are so many great companies doing such unique, progressive things in the world of cycling. We want to help them grow as we grow.

Once we finish up our business plan and move into our new home in October, we’ll hopefully have more info available. In the meantime will still try to post about upcoming events, etc. We may just be slow on doing product reviews and similar write ups. Believe me, there’s a lot of cool gear we’ve been using and would love to share!

Please feel free to shoot us an e-mail if you have any questions, comments, or advice. We’d love to hear people’s ideas on what they’d like to see in a local shop. -info@spokehaven.com-

One of things we’re going to work on is getting an e-mail list set up so once we get things rolling with the business we can keep folks updated on what we’re doing and where we’re at. We also want to spread the word about events we’ll be attending or hosting relating to the business.

Thanks so much for coming along for the ride!

-Cassandra

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