PHOENIX — At a time when some small businesses are fighting to keep their doors open because of the coronavirus outbreak, one East Valley shop says they’re facing an unexpected boom.
“We were expecting the worst or to be closed, or see a quick decline in people coming in. it’s been the opposite,” said Ashleigh Morris, the owner of family-run Free Ride Bike Co. in Gilbert.
Morris attributed a spike in customers to more people staying home and wanting to get outside.
“Overall, it’s just good. Good mental and physical, kind of decompress and go on a ride so a lot of people are coming in and getting bikes or getting their bikes fixed up," she said.
Alan Simon is one of those people turning to bikes as a way to relax.
“One of the things I’ve noticed is you see a lot of families out riding their bikes together. More so than I’ve seen before," Simon said. "So that’s one positive aspect.”
Morris said shortly after the stay-at-home orders were issued, business picked up and even quickly doubled.
“(We) had a little meeting and got everything in order and just changed up our buying strategy and how we’re taking in repairs and making sure we can accommodate the uptick in people coming in. And it’s been working," Morris said.
Several other Valley bike shops are reporting a spike in business too. Try Me Bicycle Shop, Grey Matter Family Bikes, Global Bikes, and Bicycles of Phoenix all said they’ve been busy over the last couple months.
And as far as the physical distancing changes at Free Ride?
“We do keep a line outside at some point if there’s not an associate available we do ask that you wait outside. We all have our masks," Morris said.
More than anything – at a tough time for so many small business owners – Morris says she’s thankful.
“We’re just a small family owned business and everyone who works for us is like family. So making sure everyone can continue to have a job and things are on the up and up. We’re definitely fortunate," Morris said.