Red Wing bike shop will go all out(doors)

With its scenic stretch of the Cannon Valley Trail, systems of mountain bike trails winding throughout Memorial Park and reputation as the “pretty” city on the Mississippi, few Minnesotans could ask for a better cycling destination than Red Wing.

The only missing component? A shop catering to cyclists.

Andrew Petersen hopes to fill that need.

Judges in the Downtown Main Street Retail Challenge selected Petersen’s business plan for Red Wing Bicycle Co. & Outfitter from a group of five finalists Wednesday. As the winner of the challenge, Petersen received an incentive package worth $40,000 including $20,000 worth of in-kind services from local businesses and a $20,000 in funding from a Housing and Redevelopment Authority to go toward hard assets and retail equipment.

“We were so impressed with the enthusiasm, creativity and passion the applicants demonstrated throughout this process,” said Shannan Harris, a Retail Challenge judge formerly of Moments on Main. “Our downtown will be enhanced because of this new business venture and we are hopeful that it will inspire others to follow their retail dreams.”

Petersen’s business, which is expected to open next to Red Wing Shoe Store in August, will offer retail and services for not only bicycles along with parts and accessories, but also a variety of outdoor recreation equipment including snow shoes, climbing gear, camping gear and kayaking equipment and ski equipment.

It will also offer rental options for select products.

Petersen had hoped to open a similar business when his original bike shop, Wheelhouse Cycles, closed in 2013. Since then, he said, former customers frequently commented on the lack of specialty businesses for bikes.

“Having previously owned the bike shop in town, it’s always been on my radar and something I enjoyed doing,” he said. “When the (Retail Challenge) opportunity popped up, it was something I had to take advantage of to have another chance and another go at it.”

With the opening of Red Wing Bicycle Co. & Outfitter, Petersen said he hopes to help lovers of the outdoors take advantage of Red Wing’s “phenomenal” outdoor recreation opportunities. This time, however, he plans to tap into recreation markets for each season.

“With the incorporation of snow shoes, ski waxing and winter fat bikes, we see it becoming much more of a year-round business,” he said. “I’ve seen fat bikes around, they were growing as I closed up from the previous store. It’s a market that’s continued to grow and the industry as a whole has seen exceptional growth in that market.”

Applicants in the Retail Challenge have been working with Red Wing DTMS and other local organizations and businesses since April to finalize the details of their business plan. Though judges chose Petersen as the grand prize winner, DTMS will continue to seek out additional opportunities for all five finalists to connect them with resources needed to launch their businesses in downtown Red wing.

“I was impressed with all the applicants’ passion and entrepreneurial spirit for their business,” said Red Wing DTMS President Brent Jaynes. “They presented very thorough business plans and were the exact types of businesses we were hoping to attract. All of the finalists would complement the existing businesses in our community very well and would help strengthen our downtown.”

Petersen said he has enjoyed the process of working with DTMS and other organizations to solidify his business plan.

“It was really exciting to put everything down on paper and have a really clear plan,” he said. “The whole process and planning the pitch presentation was a great experience. I’m beyond excited about the opportunity and the benefit it will bring to the community and all of the visitors coming to the area.”

Maureen McMullen, Republican Eagle Reporter