Located in the Tempe Transportation Center close to a light rail station, The Bicycle Cellar
serves not just recreational cyclists but those who make bicycles part of their commute-to-work transportation. Bicycling enthusiasts Joseph Perez and John Romero came together as business partners and opened the store eight months after the light rail opened, providing showers, lockers and 24-hour security for bicycle storage in addition to the more standard components of a full-service bicycle shop. Tempe had already built the space with the amenities to serve bicycle commuters who want to freshen up before making their appearance in the office, and Perez says, “The inspiring part to me is that the city had committed to doing this and made it fairly seamless to occupy it.” With so much infrastructure already in place, he explains, the partners were able to self-finance the additional equipment and the bikes and related merchandise for retail.
The Bicycle Cellar is the only business of its kind in Arizona, and most of the early advertising relied on online sites such as Yelp and Facebook, Perez says. Now, the business — which is membership-driven, although also open to the public on a daily basis — gets “a lot of referral from current membership and satisfied customers.” Strong proponents of bicycling as a healthy and economical mode of transportation, the partners are presently following the example of several of the similar businesses around the country and are in the process of converting the business to a nonprofit “so we can seek additional funding from corporate sources,” says Perez.