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New custom shop focuses on local product

Published November 20, 2012

TRAVERSE CITY, MI (BRAIN) — “Custom” and “local” are the guiding forces at One of a Kind Cycle, a new boutique shop opening this week in Traverse City.

“It’s a definite commitment to more American-made products. It’s hard to do in the bike business, obviously, but we’re trying to keep a good Michigan-made, American-made product line,” said Bernie Fontichiaro, who owns the retailer along with wife Gretchen and son Sean.

While One of a Kind will sell ready-to-ride city bikes from New York’s Bowery Lane Bicycles, its main bike focus will be custom builds done in partnership with Grand Rapids-based 616 Bicycle Fabrication, maker of custom steel 29er, 650b, cyclocross and fat-bike frames.

“Pretty much all the box lines are represented here (in Traverse City), so we figured that since we like to build we’d stick with the frame build-outs,” Bernie said.

For apparel, women get more attention than at most shops, with a 50/50 split between men’s and women’s clothing. Brands include Sheila Moon, Twin Six and Showers Pass.

Nearly a third of the shop’s 1,000 square feet is carved out for service, which should represent a significant portion of business — no surprise for a venture that got its start with Bernie and Sean fixing bikes out of the family garage.

Now One of a Kind is at home in a former mental hospital that’s been converted into a mixed-use retail and residential center, where merchants selling everything from jellies and jams to handmade clothing and Michigan-brewed beer share the Fontichiaros’ “buy local” ethos.

“It’s kind of a green theme here and a focus on Michigan-made products,” Bernie said.

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