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Charlotte Cycles expands on the heels of strong sales

After record sales during the pandemic and this winter, Charlotte Cycles in Midtown is celebrating its expansion under new ownership.

Shop manager and avid cyclist Chris Dies partnered with husband-and-wife Kelley and Jim Baughman in buying the bicycle business five months ago for an undisclosed price. At the same time last fall, Charlotte Cycles opened a second location less than a half-mile from the eight-year-old business’ original site.

“We were busting at the seams,” Dies said. “In order to grow the business, a move was necessary.”

The new, 2,400-square-feet location at 601 S. Kings Drive serves as Charlotte Cycles sales center. It’s twice the size of the 337 Baldwin Ave. site, which is now Charlotte Cycles’ service center.

“We are right across from the Little Sugar Creek Greenway, and we still back up to the Cherry neighborhood so we have plenty of places to test ride bikes,” store manager Mari McNeary said.

Charlotte Cycles Sales Center opening celebration runs Friday through Sunday. It includes a group ride at 9:30 a.m. Sunday from the first shop to the second one.

“Spring is the time people come out and are ready to ride,” McNeary said.

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Charlotte Cycles is celebrating the opening of its 2,400-square-feet sales center at 601 S. Kings Drive in Charlotte. Charlotte Cycles

Why expand now?

During the COVID shutdowns in 2020, Charlotte-area bicycle stores saw sales soar, The Charlotte Observer previously reported.

“It was crazy,” Dies said. “We were hustling.”

The bicycle industry was allowed to remain open because they are considered mandatory transportation, Dies explained.

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Charlotte Cycles store manager and avid cyclist Chris Dies partnered with husband-and-wife Kelley and Jim Baughman to buy the business last fall. Charlotte Cycles

“Every bike shop for two years set records,” said Dies, who has worked in the bicycle industry for a decade. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”

There also were shortages.

“We had bikes pre-sold that people were waiting eight months for,” Dies said.

And although sales have cooled, Dies said the unseasonably warm winter set record sales in February for Charlotte Cycles, about a 35% uptick.

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Kelley and Jim Baughman co-own Charlotte Cycles in Midtown with Chris Dies. Charlotte Cycles

What’s hot in bikes in Charlotte?

Rising in popularity for bicycle purchases are electric bikes. E-bikes make up about 60% of Charlotte Cycles’ sales, Dies said.

“E-bikes gets bigger and bigger every year,” Dies said, adding that E-bikes are expected to be 70% of all sales over the next 10 years in U.S.

E-bikes are a great way for people to get back in the saddle and go farther. “People think E-bikes are cheating but it’s leveling the playing field. You don’t have to be fit to enjoy an e-bike,” McNeary said.

Although the store’s main focus is electric assist bicycles, Charlotte Cycles also features recumbent tricycles, non-electric bikes from casual hybrids and folding bikes for commuters, to high-performance road, gravel and mountain bikes, McNeary said.

“Our service center can service anything that has wheels, pedals, chains, and brakes (but not mopeds or motorcycles),” she said.

Charlotte Cycles has two mechanics and six sales center employees.

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Charlotte Cycles’ original 337 Baldwin Ave. location is now the shop’s service center. Charlotte Cycles

Catherine Muccigrosso is the retail business reporter for The Charlotte Observer. An award-winning journalist, she has worked for multiple newspapers and McClatchy for more than a decade.