Opening a brand-new business during a world-wide pandemic can be quite the challenge, but the team at Big Hill Cycle has taken it one step at a time and are finding success.
"Technically we opened March 27, which I think was the day before Alberta shut down for the pandemic. It was interesting timing." explains Big Hill Cycle Co-Owner, Shane Campbell.
"About two weeks in people started kind of showing up on a more regular basis to the point where we thought something strange is going on and at this point, no one had picked up on the fact that people were going to ride their bikes. Really, no one knew what was going to happen"
Campbell owns Big Hill Cycle with Co-Owner Tim Lomenda.
Over the past few months, the popularity of biking has exploded around town, and with Cochrane's exquisite pathway system and the new bike park opening, it is easy to see why. Campbell ensures that they can fulfill the needs of anyone who wants to hop on two wheels.
"We cater to pretty much everybody who wants to buy a bike. We've got mountain bikes, road bikes, commuter bikes, hybrid bikes, electric bikes, kids bikes, mountain bikes, full suspension hard tails, and then anything from, you know, $600 all the way up to $10,000, depending on the bike they're looking for."
"People in Cochrane are very active, you've got a lot of different demographics, but you do also have a lot of young families. They're all active, and they want to ride bikes. So they've been very happy that there's a competitor, they've been very happy to just simply have another choice, people like choice."
Campbell knows that buying a new bike is a very exciting experience and emphasizes that Cochranites can feel safe while shopping in their new store.
"The way our shop is set up, if you come in the front door, and you want to stay six feet apart, you can do that. So even if I have five or six people in the store, you can comfortably, stay apart."
"We were also very lucky that we had a brand new store so even now you come in and you can smell the cleanliness. And so many people have said that, they're like, oh I love that smell, it smells clean, and I'm like, well actually it's clean and new."
Campbell and Lomenda are joined by several other staff members, including Poppy, Rex, Jessica and Frank and Campbell says they're hoping to hire more staff in the near future.
Campbell adds that buying a new bike or maybe fixing up your old one is amazing, but making sure everything fits is a crucial part of riding.
"People have been very happy that we can do fittings. They were very happy to come in and we haven't charged them, because all they needed was an adjust. People have been very happy that we have been able to talk to them about bike fitting opposed to just giving them a fatter saddle."
Campbell says it's tough times for people right now so customer service is more important than ever.
"Try and have a positive attitude. Try and have a positive attitude and take care of your customers."
He says since they opened at the beginning of a global pandemic they weren't able to have a party to celebrate the opening like they had planned.
"One of the challenges we had was the fact that we have not been able to celebrate opening a business. We didn't celebrate with our friends and family, we didn't celebrate with our future customers. This is going to be the longest soft opening in history."
Big Hill Cycle is located at #1121 116 Grande Blvd and open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Check out their website to explore all the different types of bicycles they have.