Here’s a vignette of retail today on Capitol Hill: An anarchist cafe closes and a stylish, San Francisco-based bicycle shop takes its place. CHS has learned that Public is opening its first Seattle location at the E Pine and Summit space formerly occupied by Black Coffee Co-op.
With the ink barely dry on the lease, Public’s head of sales and marketing Dan Nguyen-Tan told CHS he expects the shop to open this spring.
“We looked at several neighborhoods and Capitol Hill was always at the top of the list,” he said. “It’s central, bike friendly, and we love that our location is along the Pine Street corridor.”
The shop will primarily focus on selling and servicing Public bikes, but Nguyen-Tan said some general repair services will be offered depending on the amount of parts the store can stock.
Founded in 2010, Public is unique among small bicycle companies, in that it designs, assembles, retails, and services its own bikes under one company. With one retail shop in San Francisco and another in Oakland, the E Pine location will be the company’s first location beyond the Bay Area.
Public makes bikes specifically targeted for daily commuters and those who are buying their first adult bicycle — a customer base that should prove to be ample on Capitol Hill. Bikes displayed in the shop’s tall corner windows will also get lots of looks from commuters huffing up the E Pine bike lane.
In 2012, Black Coffee opened its “worker co-op, cafe, and community space” in the prominent Warn Building space owned by Capitol Hill prolific real estate investor Ron Amundson. Last summer the anarchist co-op announced it was closing in search of a new neighborhood home. Public’s neighbor will be the Gamma Ray Games/Raygun Lounge complex.
Browsing through Public’s inventory, it’s obvious style and design are top priorities for the company. Bikes are colorful, simple, retro, and designed for urban riding. According to Nguyen-Tan, the company strives to make its shop’s accessible and friendly, even for non-cyclists. Prices range from $299 to $899.
Public Bikes, by the way, is a CHS advertiser.
Ride Bicycles in the Roosevelt neighborhood is the only Seattle shop currently carrying Public bikes. According to Nguyen-Tan, Seattle has been one of the company’s top performing markets outside San Francisco.
News of Public’s arrival will likely be well received among Capitol Hill cyclists after Velo Bike, the last Hill-proper retailer and repair shop, moved off Capitol Hill in 2012. Last year, Seattle Bicycle Collective opened in a tiny 12th Ave office space to help fill the void. 20/20 Cycle has also gamely risen to the challenge of servicing an increasing number of area bikes while Branford Bike and Montlake Bicycle along with the random assortment found at the pawn shop continue to provide bike shoppers with a few tires to kick.
As the company name might suggest, Nguyen-Tan said Public will be an ally in the fight for pro-bicycle policies.
“We’re not just about selling bikes, we’re about making our neighborhoods and cities better and advocating for making our communities the types of cities we aspire to live in,” he said.
Public Bikes is planned to open this spring at 501 E Pine. You can learn more at publicbikes.com.