The Velo Bike Shop and Café wants to create a communal space where downtown cyclists can not only purchase a bike, but can hang out, make friends, grab a cup of custom blend coffee and use the guest Wi-Fi.
Jason Boles, owner of The Velo, says the objective is to provide customers with a relaxed atmosphere as soon as they step inside, no matter how much bicycle knowledge they have.
“I’ve always felt like bike shops should be a real social place and I think a lot of shops lack that social aspect to them,” Boles says.
His love for bicycles started in 1984. A 10-year-old Boles watched the Tour de France on TV and was instantly fascinated with it.
“I bought my first bike with money from a garage sale my mom let me have with all her stuff,” Boles says, “I think I raised just a little over $300 and my first bike was a campy 12-speed, which was really swanky stuff back then.”
He recently moved to downtown after living in Tempe, and coming from a city with a heavy bike shop presence, he noticed a lack of them in the downtown Phoenix neighborhoods, which prompted the idea for Velo.
“We looked at buildings like Roosevelt Point, and you can’t build character into a brand new building. It’s hard to build off of concrete walls and floors,” Boles says.
What sets The Velo apart from other places is its café element. They currently have coffee available and expect to have beer and wine behind the counter in the next month or two.
They are working on their own “house blend,” and will have espresso and pour over. The café will also double as a bar and will house craft brews and wine from all over the United States, Boles says.
“We don’t deal with anybody that doesn’t have a local Arizona or U.S. presence,” Boles says.
“The business philosophy in the company is ‘local first.’ That eliminated some of the other manufacturers, even from our bicycle lines, basically because the bullying tactics that some of the larger manufacturers use,” Boles says.
To maintain the theme of “local first,”different paintings will be displayed in the shop featuring local artists every two months.
All in all, the top priority for The Velo is to be active in community they represent.
“I don’t want you to come in and see the same things you see in every other bike shop in town. I want you to have a whole different experience when you walk in,” Boles says.
The Velo Bike Shop and Café, 828 N. Second Street, Phoenix, 602.759.8169, thevelo.com