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E Pine’s PUBLIC Bikes shop announces plans to close

PUBLIC Bikes shop will close its Capitol Hill store and exit Seattle at the end of March, just a few days short of two years after expanding to the city.

“The beauty of our space, our product and our service ethos resulted in creating an inclusive, welcoming bike shop on Capitol Hill,” the announcement of the closure plans reads. “All of us walk away proud, grateful and thankful to those whom we’ve met and helped get back on a bike.”

The PUBLIC shop opened in April 2015 in the E Pine and Summit space formerly occupied by Black Coffee Co-op.

Founded in 2010, PUBLIC designs, assembles, retails, and services its own bikes under one company. At the time of the 2015 expansion to Seattle, PUBLIC had not ventured outside the Bay Area to open its stores. The Seattle closure will leave its San Francisco shop and a shop in Santa Monica as the only dedicated PUBLIC stores.

Bike-oriented retail will get a new spin on E Pine this spring as high end cycling brand Rapha will open one of its “clubhouse” concept stores and cafes at Melrose and Pine.

PUBLIC’s exit from E Pine will leave neighbor Gamma Ray Games and the Raygun Lounge to hold down the street level commercial activity in the  Warn Building owned by Capitol Hill prolific real estate investor Ron Amundson. The spaces along E Pine were once home to the legendary Travelers Tea Co.

The shop is planned to close March 26th. In the meantime, you can find everything in the store at 50% off during a going out of business sale.

The full announcement on the PUBLIC closure is below.

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26 thoughts on “E Pine’s PUBLIC Bikes shop announces plans to close

  1. Ex-World of Beer has been vacant for what seems like a year now – I hope this space across the street has better luck finding a tenant.

    • That stretch of both Pike and Pine west of Broadway has been looking somewhat barren lately with all the empty storefronts – which is rather sad, considering how alive that area was until just a few short years ago.

  2. I remember when I first moved to the Hill and walked past this shop thinking that it looked like a museum for ironically old fashioned looking bikes. Not that there isn’t a place for someone who wants to operate that sort of business but this hardly comes as a surprise. It did not seem like a practical business or even a legitimate bike store.

  3. On one hand I’m kind of surprised, as there should be enough money in this town for such expensive bikes. On the other hand, those bikes mainly look like cruisers for flatter terrain so I can see why they wouldn’t sell around here.

    • Public Bikes are actually pretty reasonably priced ($300-700) and would be perfect commuting options for somebody not living on Capitol Hill. The great thing about their bikes is that they come with fenders and racks already installed – so you don’t need to spend another $100-200 after you buy the bike. If you’ve ever ridden without fenders, you know how wet you get.

      True, they 3-7 gears isn’t enough if you live on Capitol Hill (or other hilly parts of town) but for some folks who have a short ride, they’re great. They do have bikes with more gears, and with the 50% off sale, might be worth taking a look.

      (i’m not affiliated with them in any way, just think they make a decent, entry-level bike if you don’t need anything super fancy.)

    • I agree with Marley — these are not expensive bikes at all. Very reasonable prices and I’d consider buying one, especially when 50% off, if I didn’t already have a bike that I really like.

    • Interestingly, this may have been part of their problem. Passing by I’d always assumed from the look of the store that the bikes were way more expensive than that and never bothered to go in.

  4. Whenever I walked past that store, my main thought was “that looks like a place I won’t be able to afford to buy a bike from.”

    The commenter Russ above had the right word for it– it looked museum-like. If they actually had any affordable bike stuff for sale, it would have helped if they threw up a sign saying as much, even though it would detract from their squeaky-clean aesthetic.

    (I guess it’s kind of shitty when a business closes down and then jerks pop up talking about how they would have done it better. Sorry about that. It’s a sad moment for the people involved with the store, I should respect that. Good luck with whatever comes next.)

    • I always described it as “Wes Anderson’s Bike Store.”

      I found it charming but I didn’t need another bike, and their repair shop wouldn’t service shops they didn’t sell, so I had no reason to ever give them any money.

    • I have a Masi and I’ve been taking it there the past year and a half for service. Their two mecahnics are awesome.

      Dunno where or when or what you mean by “service,” fluffy. Perhaps you needed a part they didn’t carry? They told me they only stocked parts for what came on their bikes. I had to buy a few things elsewhere, but didnt mind doing so because I always got 25% off labor for having bike benefits.

  5. As an actual customer of Public’s, I’m saddened by this news. Their bikes are inexpensive and their people are super-friendly to newbies like me.

  6. I was looking for a local/USA-made bicycle so I thought Public was a sure bet, considering their “European inspired, American version…we’re from California!” stuff on their website. But, no. They’re made in Asia. Yes, I know my phone is made in China…but I’m looking to support local whenever possible.

    • Unfortunately when it comes to bikes, that’s pretty much the norm. All the frames are made in China/Taiwan these days, unless you go with a custom frame (which gets pricey fast).

  7. I bought a few accessories at this shop and the folks who worked there are super friendly. I’m bummed they are closing but not that surprised given the style of bikes they sold.

  8. The leaseholder improvements done by them were expensive. I never could figure out how many bikes they would have to sell to support the retail space. Then with the changes in Seattle business expenses since they opened, it must have thrown whatever business plan they had out of wack.

  9. I’m with everyone else; I’d assumed the bikes were super expensive based entirely on how they were presented (and their location), so I never bothered checking out their line.

  10. Sad they are leaving – great staff and great promotion of everyday biking. Despite the comments here they had quality bikes, at very low cost for a quality new bike (they are constantly having sales), and they are geared low enough to get up hills. What matters is now do you have a road bike with a bazillion gears, but will your lowest one get you up Seattle’s hills? You really won’t notice a few extra pounds between these bikes and a light weight racing bike – it’s less difference than carrying a laptop or whatever. A couple of the Public bikes I tried (the D8i in particular) did just fine going up Pine – can’t speak to all of them. Would they have been more successful with big price stickers like a used car lot to demonstrate their relatively cheap prices like some are speculating – who can know, it’s too late now.

  11. Wow, Capitol hill is really doing great at killing small business! Good job Seattle! Killer construction, no city support. Make room for another nail shop or juice bar! Just what we need. I am sad to see them go, but they probably dodged a bullet on the neglected, over constructed, ill policed, over priced Hill

    • Wow, you really seem to hate Capitol Hill! You seem to have access to a computer, so I doubt that anyone is holding you captive here, forcing you to live, work, and shop against your will at nail salons and juice bars, so presumably you are able to go away and be free.

    • @JT Continental, be thankful for folks like Gordon, otherwise, who would there be for you to feel “better than” with your thirsty need to be sanctimonious? Your advice they don’t have to stay here is you venting your own anger issues, but very thinly disguised.

  12. I own 2 Public bikes. The first one I bought mostly because it is just so beautiful. If I ever visit somewhere flat, it will be perfect! So then I bought the electric bike. Is it ever wonderful!! I’m very sorry about the store closing, and I’m wondering where I will have my Public e-bike serviced?