The new Evanston Wheel and Sprocket store is a reality. We made our first visit to the site having arrived earlier before they were ready for their unveiling. The results were worth the wait. The store is very nicely appointed in a fashion that is both clean and earthy. Cyclists will feel right at home as they enter the front door and take in the warm brick walls highlighted with posters and other decorating elements.
Immediately to the rear and above it all is a loft space that will be developed over time. I learned all of this from the friendly staffers who came over and greeted me as we entered. Mark came over and greeted us upon entry. He wanted to know if there was anything we had interest in seeing and I explained that we had been long time customers of the company. Now we had a chance to visit a Wheel and Sprocket store closer to home.
We toured the establishment in a counter-clockwise fashion. Customers were inside with their children purchasing goodies for use on their bikes or our test riding bikes and coming back with questions. One couple was walking around (as were we) just taking the place in. It has that professionally planned look that is obvious but understated. My hat goes off to Chris Kegel and company for this look. It suits the style of such establishments in both Evanston and places like Wicker Park.
As I walked past the mechanics area a customer was in having work done and was in discussion with the mechanic about the use of his bike. Joan was comfortable and friendly and later came over to introduce herself. She like Mark is an avid bicycle commuter. This is great because it means that when customers come it with practical questions they are dealing with employees with “real world” knowledge of their situations.
There is a nice area for clothing, shoes and other gear and all of the racks out in the middle of the floor are neatly arranged and visually appealing. What I liked best were the “Dutch Bikes” parked in the front window area. This is the kind of bike that most appeals to my sensibilities.
All in all it was a good experience and I can see that Wheel and Sprocket has done its homework in putting together not only a neat store to visit but assembling a personable team of folks who can relate to the customers.
I wish them all very well, indeed!