UPDATE 11/14/18: So much has changed since this article was first published in 2011:
- Bushwhacker moved two miles to the northeast to the first building that owner Rich Pestien has ever owned, a single-level, 15,000-square-foot structure at 5728 N. Knoxville Avenue in Peoria, next to Junction City, and, even more important, next to the Rock Island Greenway, the off-road bicycle and pedestrian thoroughfare that bisects Peoria from north to south.
- Bicycles–from Specialized, Giant and Surly–are a bigger part of the business.
- All of the mountain bikes and most of the road bikes have disc brakes. Gravel/endurance bikes are prominent. Most popular bike in the store? The several iterations of the Specialized Roll.
- Sally Brown has retired, focusing a good deal of her efforts nowadays on pickleball.
- Every link in this article is broken, except for the ones in the update.
- I’ve worked at Bushwhacker for a couple of years now. Yep, back to doing what I was doing 25 years ago: fixing flat tires and selling bicycles. (I’m also trying to keep up with developments in outdoor clothing, shoes, packs, kayaks, skis and Berlin Gardens outdoor furniture.) And I update the company’s Facebook and Instagram pages.
- One thing that hasn’t changed? Robert Woo is still turning wrenches–and promoting bicycling with flat tire clinics, Saturday morning trainer rides in the winter, the Dutchman Classic in the autumn and more. Anyway, let’s take a look at what was going on in the old Metro Centre location in 2011…
Bushwhacker, Peoria’s locally owned and operated active outdoor sports store, is consolidating bicycle repair, assembly and sales in the north end of the building at street level. For employees like Service Manager Robert Woo, it’s the end of hauling bicycles up the stairs from the old basement repair area.
For an old bike shop guy like me, the move is evidence of Bushwhacker’s commitment to the bicycling business. After all, when you dedicate a larger chunk of your prime selling space to bicycles, you have to be sure the product will pay for the square footage.
“We’re about 60 percent of the way there,” Woo said about the move on March 4. “I could talk about the business end of it, but I’m more interested in people coming in and using their bicycles.”
Sally Brown, Bushwhacker vice president/buyer, said customers arriving today will think the changeover is further along. “It looks like 80 percent done to people coming in, but we’re doing a lot of fine tuning. But people are coming in, turning to the right and saying wow, that’s where the bikes are.
“We have plenty to do; I know we still need to get Yakima up on the wall. But people can find stuff. In the future, we’ll also have a back door for bicycle service, so people don’t have to haul their bikes through the sales floor.”
See pictures of the new layout on Facebook.
Be sure to check out Bushwhacker’s website, too. Redesigned last fall, it’s full of employee biographies, sharp photography and links to area outdoor clubs. And “the story of a brick and mortar store built on guts and granola.”