One of Portland’s most iconic bike shops and out-of-the-ordinary hangouts, Velo Cult, will shut down on August 1, 2018.
In the age of online retail, running a brick-and-mortar shop is no easy task. And local bike shops are perhaps the poster children of that trend, with razor-thin margins, fierce competition for customer loyalty, and an increasingly outdated business model.
So it was no small miracle when Sky Boyer uprooted his San Diego-based bike business in 2012. He hauled it up the coast to Portland and relaunched it as a one-of-a-kind venue for all things bike culture.
For six years, Velo Cult was the Cheers-type hangout for dirtbag messengers and bike-loving artists alike. And that included the beer. Velo Cult dealt in handbuilt bikes, cycling accessories and apparel, and full service and maintenance. And it provided a fully functioning theater, performance stage, and tavern.
This week, however, Velo Cult announced the good times are coming to an end. According to Boyer, the burden of meeting the city’s requirements to maintain Velo Cult’s bar and building were “too great.” Velo Cult will close its doors on August 1 to focus “on online sales and brand building.”
Velo Cult Closing: Everything Must Go!
The news means Portland, a perennial contender for America’s best bicycling city, is losing its most unique bike shop. But Boyer and crew aren’t going quietly.
Velo Cult will liquidate most everything within its gear-and-beer-adorned walls, including displays, merchandise, and art.
“We’ve hosted weddings, funerals, concerts, poetry slams, musical jam sessions, parties to celebrate all occasions, and even got recognition on CNN, Travel Channel, and in numerous magazines,” Boyer said. “With this big space, we ran into problems with the bar in regards to the city. In the end, the requirements from the city to keep the bar going are too great for a business like ours to take on.”
On top of the big sale, Velo Cult will also host a goodbye party on Saturday, July 28. Attendees can cry in their beer, rehash good times, and marvel at the shop’s beloved poster of Burt Reynolds naked on a bearskin rug. Just know that it’s about the only thing not for sale.
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