In this edition of Retail Partner Profiles, we talk to Stuart Hellebusch, owner of 'the oldest bike shop in America', Bishop Bicycles in Milford Ohio. Building on his career with some of the best bicycle retailers in the Midwest, Stuart aquired the storied retailer in 2020, during one of the most demanding times in our industry. Read on to find out where Bishops came from, and where it's heading with Stuart at the helm.
What’s the history of the store and the people behind the shop?
Bishops was a family business that started out in the 1880s as a gunsmith and hardware store located in Winchester, Kentucky and Norwood, Ohio. Eventually it became a bike shop and moved to Cincinnati in the 1910s. In 1970, Bruce Bishop moved the shop to it’s current location in Milford. Bruce sold the shop and it changed hands a couple of times during the early 2000s. I bought the shop in October of 2020. We still have a couple of employees that go back a couple of owners. Terry Powell has been with the shop for about 12 years.
I took what learned from all my years working in other shops, including Pedal Power down in Lexington, Kentucky. Pedal Power sold all kinds of bikes and that’s what I want to do. I want to sell kids bikes all the way up to $8K race bikes, and everything in between. I want to be all-inclusive. I want to be the kind of bike shop that does everything. We don’t want to be a boutique shop, and selling Kids bikes is fun! We ask every customer what kind of riding they want to do and 75% of them describe a Fitness bike. They want a modern bike that can do everything and go anywhere, and that’s what we see from roll – a modern, do everything, go anywhere bike.
Describe the biking community and facilities of in your area?
We’re very fortunate to be located just off the Little Miami Bike Trail, which is part of the Ohio to Erie Trail, a 326 mile trail connecting Cleveland and Cincinnati. And that trail links us up to many dirt trails along the path so we can be very “dirt oriented”. We also have several cycling clubs, including the Cincinnati Cycling Club, that take advantage of the extensive trail network in this area.
You came on board in 2021 as a Retail Partners, tell us why?
I had just purchased the shop and unfortunately, the previous owners did not submit any pre-season orders. So we had no bikes in the pipeline when the pandemic hit. Our local rep, Mike Sweeney, showed up with a roll bike on his bike rack and told us that you had bikes available. It was the quality modern bike we needed. It saved us during that time – being able sell new bikes and not rely only on our service business.
What’s the reaction been from your team and customers to the bikes in person?
Everybody loves them. The bike is just quality. We haven’t had a single customer take advantage of the 50 day ride guarantee. We’ve never had one returned. It’s like a bunch of bike shop people got together to build a bike – and this is it.
What’s been your experience in collaborating with roll: so far?
Great. It feels like you guys are right down the road. You’re able to ship or deliver quickly. The team at roll is always checking in and following up to see if we need anything. And you don’t try and strong arm us into buying what we don’t need. It’s been a great partnership.
You can connect with Stuart and the Bishops team at the links below.
313 Main Street
Milford, OH 45150