By Rich Palzewic
GREEN BAY – Due to the spread of COVID-19, Stadium Bike is adjusting its operations.
Deemed an essential business by Gov. Tony Evers’ Safer at Home order, Stadium Bike, which has five stores located around the state, has been an important part of peoples’ lives during the past month.
Randy Bailey and his wife, Stacie, own all five shops.
“We knew we weren’t in the initial essential structure to stay open,” said Randy Bailey. “We aren’t part of the defense, infrastructure or health care, but we thought we were on the fringe. The Wisconsin Bicycle Federation was the strong arm to lobby for us, and many in our industry sent letters to the governor. With health clubs closed, we’ve sold some bikes in the last month.”
Green Bay shop locations are on Mason Street (opened in 2005) on the west side and Bellevue (2016) on the east.
There are also Stadium Bike stores in Wausau (2008), Stevens Point (2017) and Sheboygan (2020).
Bailey said several people have come in and said they have bad knees, so walking is not a good option for them.
“Bicycling is a good option for lots of people because it’s gentler on the knees,” he said. “With social distancing, biking is probably better than walking. The walking paths can get congested, whereas biking is more in the country with the fresh air. COVID-19 can affect anybody, so there’s no better time to get healthy.”
Bailey said he was prepared to close if need be, but was informed his stores could stay open.
“After we were told we could stay open, we had to decide how we wanted to run things,” he said. “We wanted to be healthy and safe, so we are constantly cleaning, have reduced hours and allow curbside pickup and pay-over-the-phone options for customers. We lock the front door to avoid having large groups of people in the store at one time, but you can call ahead for an appointment.”
There’s also the transportation need for a bicycle, but Bailey said there’s something more important now when it comes to biking.
“In addition to the fitness aspect, mental sanity is huge,” he said. “The mental health of our population is possibly at an all-time low. When I go for a 50-mile bike ride, half of it’s physical and half is mental. You recheck your bearings and think about stuff. It’s a cool time out on the road. If you lose that outlet, you lose that endorphin high. I like going for a walk with my wife – we talk about the day – but it’s not the same as going 30 mph on a bike.”
Bailey said he isn’t sure how quickly things will bounce back after restrictions are lifted, but he’s hoping for a good end to the season.
“I try not to run those scenarios,” he said. “Like every business, we will be challenged. Even health care workers are being laid off. How long will it take people to get back to a normal way of life? We have customers, but we probably won’t get our big boom back for July and August. We have to be careful how much inventory we bring in because we will have a shorter window of time to sell that inventory. We normally have four solid core months of business, but that will most likely be down to two. People might say, ‘I’ll wait until next year to get a bike.’ This year is doing what we can to survive. We do have a small online presence, so hopefully, that can grow, too.”
As an example, Bailey said two years ago the Green Bay area had a record 2-foot snowfall in mid-April, which took five weeks to recover from.
For more information on products, services and hours of operation, visit stadiumbike.com.