A six-year-old local bike shop is peddling into a new neighborhood.
Bunnyhop Bike Shop is set to open its second location this winter in Oregon Hill.
Owner Luke Stevens said the store outgrew its current space at 918 W. Grace St., near the VCU bookstore.
“We ran out of room about two years ago, and we were waiting to find a space that was a good fit,” Stevens said. “I think we found it.”
Stevens said a good portion of his customer base lives in Oregon Hill, so leasing the first floor and basement of 349 S. Laurel St. seemed like a natural next step for the business.
The new shop is about 3,000 square feet, double the size of Bunnyhop’s Grace Street location. Stevens said that he’s had as many as 60 bikes in the shop for repair at one time and that space can get a little tight.
“This new location has much higher ceilings. It’s going to give us some more room to display merchandise,” Stevens said. “It’s a big transition for us. We’re growing up.”
When Stevens opened the first location in 2006, he said Bunnyhop was one of just a few stores in the city that catered to Richmond’s bike-riding population. Now there are at least half a dozen in the downtown area alone.
“The stakes are a lot higher this time around,” Stevens said. “There’s a lot more competition, and I’ve got four employees to consider. It’s a little more to worry about.”
He said Bunnyhop would try to stand out by offering quick turnaround times on repair work and affordable prices on parts.
Once the Oregon Hill location is up and running, Stevens said he plans to hire two more employees: a full-time salesman and someone to handle marketing.
Stevens is leasing the new location from developer Nolen Blackwood, who owns the space. Blackwood, a principal with Blackwood Investments, bought the building this year from SynerGeo, a community activism organization.
“They left the building in good shape,” Blackwood said. “It’s still very clean, and it’s going to require a minimal amount of renovations.”
Blackwood said that, after talking to the local neighborhood association, he thinks a bike shop will work well in the space.
“Parking is a bit of an issue in that area, so the fact that it’s a bike shop should really help with that,” Blackwood said.
Stevens would not share what the costs will be to get the second shop up and running but said he’s handling most of the build-out himself.