Major bike manufacturer plans to open corporate-owned store on south Iowa Street
photo by: Chad Lawhorn/Journal-World
I have gone round and round on this rumor, but I’m now confident in reporting that Lawrence is getting a major new player in the world of bike shops. Trek, one of the biggest names in both the road racing and mountain biking worlds, is opening a corporate-owned store in Lawrence.
Trek’s website lists a variety of job openings for a store in Lawrence, which matches with the rumors I’ve been hearing in the Lawrence cycling community. (No, I’m not part of the cycling community. My clothes just naturally fit like Spandex.) I’ve reached out to an area commercial real estate broker, and he also has confirmed Trek has reached a deal to be part of the shopping center at 25th and Iowa streets in south Lawrence.
Christian Ablah with Wichita-based Classic Real Estate said Trek has signed a deal to go into the center that also houses Planet Fitness and the soon-to-open Mattress Hub store, which is relocating from 23rd Street. Ablah said the deal calls for Trek to occupy about 3,700 square feet next to Mattress Hub.
“This is a great get for Lawrence,” Ablah said. “We’ve been chasing Trek for three years. That’s how long they’ve been looking at the Lawrence market. We are really excited to get them to Lawrence.”
If you are not familiar with Trek, the Wisconsin-based brand gained a lot of popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s as it became the brand of choice for Lance Armstrong when he was winning his seven consecutive Tour de France titles. While Armstrong’s brand has taken a hit following a doping scandal, Trek’s brand has continued to soar. The bikes have a bit of a cult-like following. While Trek bikes certainly can be found in Lawrence — major sporting good retailers carry Trek — I’m presuming the corporate-owned store will carry a much wider range of Trek bikes.
Based on the company’s website, it looks like the only corporate-owned Trek stores in the area are in the Kansas City metro area, with one in Shawnee and another in Lee’s Summit. Based on the website, it looks like those stores stock a big variety of bikes, ranging from road racing bikes to mountain bikes to more family-oriented bikes for cruising around the neighborhood. In addition to bike sales, it looks like the stores have a full service shop and also some unique programs. One is a “kids’ bike trade-up program.” When you buy a child’s bike at a Trek store you can bring it back within three years and get 50% of the original purchase price credited toward the purchase of a larger bike. The old bike is then donated by Trek to a local charity, the website says.
Trek stores also frequently have a rental department. For anywhere from about $50 to $150 a day, people can rent various types of Trek bikes to use for a race or perhaps just for an out-of-town traveler who didn’t want to pack a bike. (It does take a lot of suitcases to get a bike through airport security.)
The Lawrence store will be the western-most location for Trek in Kansas. Ablah said the store is the type that should draw in shoppers from Topeka and beyond. He also said the store is another sign of the growing interest retailers have in the south Iowa Street corridor.
“I think it is the hottest corridor in Lawrence right now,” Ablah said.
Ablah said he’s sure the 25th and Iowa location was competing with other sites in the downtown area. Ablah, though, said south Iowa Street sites are getting good interest from retailers as shopping centers at 31st and Iowa and 33rd and Iowa streets have become real destinations for Lawrence shoppers. New additions like Menards, Hobby Lobby and HomeGoods are adding to existing shopper traffic created by Home Depot, Best Buy, Walmart, Target, Kohl’s and other retailers.
While the South Lawrence Trafficway has made it easier to get to that area, much of the traffic is still coming from the northern parts of Lawrence, traveling down south Iowa Street, he said. That has created good redevelopment opportunities for centers like 25th and Iowa street. Years ago, the center was mainly home to a Food-4-Less grocery store. The space remained vacant for several years, but now the center is nearly full, with 12,000 square foot space available next to the Trek store.
No word yet on when Trek plans to open its Lawrence store, but remodeling work is underway at the site.