9,400 SF cycling superstore with high tech “Fit Room” opens in Goleta
Bob Zaratzian first cut his teeth in the bike shop business as a teen working in his father’s store in Southern California. Later, after moving to Santa Barbara as a young adult, he shared a first date bike ride with the woman who would one day become his wife.
Now the owner of local favorite Bicycle Bob’s hopes his all-new “superstore” will be a starting line for others to launch their own cycling-related passions.
On Friday, March 5, Bicycle Bob’s celebrated its 31st anniversary serving the South Coast with the grand opening of a shiny, 9,400 square foot super-sized store at 320 S. Kellogg Ave. in Old Town Goleta. Zaratzian closed his two former locations in Santa Barbara and Goleta to accommodate the move.
The new space boasts a 6,800 square foot showroom, more than the combined 5,900 square feet of total space those two other locations occupied.
“Going big was paramount for many reasons, especially to be able to offer the variety and quality of products and services that cater to every kind of cyclist,” said Zaratzian.
“He told me he needed a centrally located space large enough to create the kind of unique experience he envisioned,” said Bob Tuler of Radius Commercial Real Estate & Investments who worked with Zaratzian to lease the new space in the Kellogg Square Center at Kellogg and Hollister Avenues. “I think everyone who walks in is going to be wowed.”
“For years I think many people thought of this center as the place where Sizzler was,” said Tuler. “The level of quality of this store and the buzz and excitement it’s going to build are on par with what you’d expect from a high profile mall anchor, and it’s going to help continue to revitalize the area and attract other businesses and new clientele.”
According to Zaratzian, his customer base covers the whole gamut of cycling enthusiasts, “from the 3-year-old driveway peddler to the $10,000-carbon-fiber-ultra-light aggressive cyclists, and everyone in between,” he said. “What they all have in common is what everyone should have, and that’s bikes and products that are good quality and built to suit their specific needs.”
To that end, Zaratzian has installed a fully devoted “Fit Room” with a $14,000 state-of-the-art system that does everything from calibrate handlebars and seat positions to filming motion-capture video, all designed to match a person’s body and their riding habits with the proper products. He says the new store is the only one in the local market using this technology. Additionally, Zaratzian sent his employees for special training and certification.
“Your experience on two wheels is made that much richer if you have equipment that fits your body and your lifestyle,” he said. “And it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to get that experience and you don’t have to be a professional cyclist either.”
Zaratzian says data he receives from his vendors shows that he sells more juvenile and women-specific merchandise than anyone in the county. “Commuter cyclists are also a big part of my business. It’s the largest growing segment of the industry for the past five to seven years.”
Zaratzian readily admits he couldn’t have opened this new shop on his own. “Of course my family has been so supportive and I’m truly blessed,” he said. “But the support I’ve received from vendors like Trek and the Bontrager line has been tremendous and it’s a privilege to have them in my corner.”
According to Zaratzian, the owners of Trek Bikes, John and Tania Burke, who own a second home in Montecito, have been an integral part of the launch of the new store. The couple, known for their generosity in donating to local events and organizations like the Santa Barbara Bike Coalition, has provided guidance, funding and manpower to ensure a successful launch.
Zaratzian says Trek has been instrumental in nearly every aspect of the revamped store, from shelving, displays and wall graphics to flooring and lighting.
“Trek and Bontrager products will enjoy a strong presence in the new store,” he said. “The company’s philosophy, their outlook on the industry and their support of the local community have inspired me. And to have them send six professionals from their retail services department including top designers and merchandisers to consult and oversee the setup and design of the showroom, it’s a dream come true for a small business owner like myself.”
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