This is Nominee Spotlights, a series in which the Best of Western Washington chats with local business owners to get the inside scoop on everything good.
R.V. Gregg first opened Gregg's Cycles in 1932 in Seattle's Greenlake neighborhood during the height of the Great Depression. The simple premise was that the poor economy made inexpensive recreation more important than ever. Fast forward 80 years and three generations of ownership later, Gregg's Cycles is still thriving and has expanded to three locations. The Best of Western Washington caught up with Stan Gregg, Owner and President of Gregg's Cycles, to find out what keeps Gregg's Cycles spinning after 80 years in the business.
How did you get started in the business? At the time my uncle first contacted me in late 1974 to inquire if I might be interested in purchasing the cycle shop, I was working as a staff attorney for the U.S. Department of Housing (HUD) and felt that operating the cycle shop could be a good opportunity. My original plan was to consider this a 5 year project, and then return to the practice of law. The 5 years came and went quickly, and now after 37 years of being in the bicycle business I look back on many moments of challenges, and crucial decisions, and the incredible rewards we have experienced.
How would you describe your clientele? The great thing about cycling is that it can be enjoyed on so many levels. Whether a child is getting their first bike (who doesn't remember that experience!) or an enthusiast finally getting their "dream machine," our clientele clearly enjoy the cycling component of their life, whether it is commuting, recreational or competitive cycling.
What brands are the most popular in your shop? Trek and Specialized are our most popular brands across the board. They both offer comprehensive selections and are the top two brands nationwide.
What about you, what kind of bike(s) do you ride? I like to ride on the road, mountain and track. One of my perks is being able to pretty much ride any bike I want! I alternate between Trek and Specialized models. Over the last 10 years, I have focused on Velodrome racing, but still enjoy all forms of cycling. I have friends who are in their late 70's who are still very active riders-this is my goal and hope, as well!
What's your favorite story about a customer? Many memorable experiences for me include members of our junior cycling team. Recently, I attended a wedding of two team members whose friendship blossomed into love, then marriage. During the years they also developed into elite level bike racers. Their wedding was themed in cycling and it was moving to see the positive ways that cycling has influenced their lives.
What's the best safety tip you give to riders? My philosophy about riding is to eliminate as much risk as possible. Pick the safest routes and riding times whenever possible, wear bright clothing, use a rear flasher-even in daylight, pay close attention to the road surface, and the must do's: always wear a helmet, and use a good light at night and gray days. Finally, try to expect the unexpected — be ready to act when encountering cars that could turn or pull out in your path. That means ride in a hand position where you can use your brakes quickly in these situations.
How do you like to stay in touch with customers? I am a bit "old fashioned" on this, but I think the best contact with customers for me is face to face. However, this is not a practical method to reach large numbers of people. As a company, we utilize our web site, Facebook, monthly email newsletters, and Twitter to a great degree to communicate with our customers.
Anything fun coming up - any fun events? Every year in March we have a ladies night for the local women cyclists to enjoy free food and drink, get some amazing deals on cycling products, and hear from local women cyclists in a fun and positive atmosphere.
Published in: interviews