Photo: Bentonville Ledger
Bike giant Specialized Bicycle Components is investing heavily in northwest Arkansas.
The 48-year-old California company plans to open a new experience center in Bentonville and recently purchased an independent bike shop in Fayetteville.
The new Experience Center will open at register in downtown Bentonville this fall.
It will be the third company-owned experience center for the brand, which operates facilities in Boulder, Colorado. and in Santa Cruz, California. Centers offer bike demonstrations, fitting services and some merchandise.
Details so far are limited to what is included in a press release announcing that Specialized has leased space in the 230,000 square foot bike-friendly building under construction on South Main Street.
“We designed the Bentonville space as a comfortable place to connect before and after you hit the trails,” Jennifer Gibbons, retail services manager for Specialized, said in the release. “Bike out for an amazing ride, then come back to relax with friends, study the map wall to plan your next adventure, or hang out and chat with our local experts. You can even take a shower after the ride and enjoy a coffee.
Available demos will include mountain and gravel bikes and associated gear, according to the release.
A message to Gibbons asking if the company’s road bikes or e-bikes would be available was not returned.
Specialized will hire several employees for the new center, which is expected to open in October, according to the release.
The news of the experience center is the second notable development of the company’s investment in the region.
Specialized earlier this month bought The Bike Route, an independent bike shop that opened in 2010 on Front Street in Fayetteville, according to local sources. After the sale, the store closed for several days before reopening under new ownership with no changes to the store’s branding. The Bike Route was a Specialized dealer before the sale.
Messages sent to Specialized to inquire about the acquisition and plans for the Fayetteville store went unreturned.
Specialized has acquired independent bike shops in several states and at least one other country.
The company bought a store in Michigan last September and plans to buy several more stores, according Bike Retailer & Industry News. Specialized also acquired stores in Virginia, Indiana, California and Australia.
Specialized was founded in 1974 by Mike Sinyard. The company is based in Northern California.
Santa Cruz Specialty Experience Center
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