Whidbey Island bicycling enthusiasts once again have a one-stop shop to meet all their needs, and it’s located in beautiful downtown Oak Harbor. Skagit Cycle Center has opened a new store in the old M & L Loans building on SE Pioneer Way.
“We noticed Oak Harbor a long time ago,” said Gary Santiago, who owns Skagit Cycle along with his wife, Bernice. The couple has two other stores, located in Burlington and Anacortes.
“It just seemed like now’s a good time to expand, and we really wanted to support downtown,” said Santiago. “We waited until we felt the time was right, because we want this shop to be successful. We want it to be the go-to shop for the community.”
Being in the historic downtown area has definitely defined the appearance of this new Skagit Cycle. Stickers on the building’s windows – left over from its days as a pawn shop – are still there, and the wood walls and original wood floors lend character to the space, which Santiago estimates is about 2,200-square-feet. High ceilings add to the open, spacious feel of the shop, and natural light pours in from both front and back.
“We wanted to maintain the history of the building,” said Darcy Patterson, co-manager of the new store.
In terms of stock, cyclists can find pretty much anything they might need. There are bikes, tires, clothing, helmets and accessories -including tassels and flower-covered bike baskets – in addition to a full repair shop.
“We sell the top five brands, which is rare in bike shops,” said Santiago. “Imagine going to one car dealer and being able to test drive a Ford, Chevy, Toyota, Dodge and Subaru. We have all the hottest brands under one roof.”
Santiago said they plan on listening to their customers to determine the stock needed at the Oak Harbor store. He said each of their stores has a unique feel and has developed its own specialties. What sells well in Burlington or Anacortes may not move well in Oak Harbor, but that will be defined over time by customers. So will the other services offered.
“We want to be able to do a lot of things, so we will start where we can make the biggest impact,” he said.
“We are always getting requests from people for the best bike rides in the area,” said Patterson, who is also on the Island County Trails Council. “So we want to be a good source of information, too.”
Co-manager Brad Nelson said the store already has a great relationship with area bike clubs, and sees the shop’s role in special events growing in the future.
“We’re already helping with the Tour de Whidbey,” he said. “The plan is to help with more events and rides on the Island, because now we have a shop that’s able to support cyclists. I’m happy we have the service side back on the island.”
“People are searching for a shop that can answer all their needs,” said Santiago. “Tons of people just want a higher quality bike or are interested in custom sizing. That’s why they come to a bike shop.”
According to Santiago, cycling is an ever-growing sport. Those at the end of the baby boom era are part of a growing trend.
“Cycling is something that is low impact, anyone can do it. Many do it into their 60s, 70s and even their 80s,“ he said. “It’s never too late.”
The Oak Harbor Skagit Cycle is located at 731 SE Pioneer Way and is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The store will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays through Labor Day.