You are here

BCOutdoors will fill a bike-shop void in Cherokee, NC

Published February 6, 2023
Moves into Motion Makers space after Specialized closes location.

CHEROKEE, N.C. (BRAIN) — Brett Hackshaw and Ben King always have wanted to test the "beer, gear, and bikes" business model, and after Specialized closed the Motion Makers Bicycle Shop location here in January, they soon will have that opportunity.

Hackshaw and King, co-owners of BCOutdoors in nearby Bryson City, have leased the next-door space formerly occupied by Motion Makers and will expand the location to include a full-service bike shop, tap room, and lounge, with regular food truck visits. Kent Cranford sold his three area locations — the others are in Asheville and Sylva — to Specialized last year. BCOutdoors officially took over the space Jan. 30.

"Because we intend to have alcohol — BCOutdoors motto is beer and gear — now it's beer, gear, and bikes," Hackshaw said. "I've always wanted it for this area. It's a small area, but we have lots of friends in the bike industry here, but we have never crossed over (into the bike business) because we didn't want to step on anybody's toes."

The Cherokee BCOutdoors space, which has been closed the past month to begin the expansion, is scheduled to open by mid-March. Hackshaw said he's applied for an alcohol license and is hiring additional staff for the bike shop. A full-time mechanic has been hired and two to three retail employees will need to be added at first.

Cranford, who is now retired, said, "I was excited that the BCO guys wanted to pick up the torch and continue to have bicycles in Cherokee. ... Having free rein of the whole Cherokee building will let them change it up as they feel suits them. They have great vision and will do a great job. They've already proven how good they are with outdoor gear, so bikes won't be any problem for them."

Cranford said the area is poised for growth.

"The Cherokee community is certainly a viable growing bicycle market with the trail infrastructure and future plans that the tribe has," he said. "With nearly 14 million annual visitors to the Smokies, there's an untapped and nearly unlimited amount of tourism to capture also."

The shop will carry Giant and Salsa bikes — focusing on mountain, gravel, road, and BMX — and Hackshaw said he's speaking with a couple of other brands. The shop also will have a full selection of BCOutdoors products, including footwear, hiking gear, tents, and sleeping bags. It will also stock skateboards and accessories.

"Just like everything in Cherokee, we want a partner that understands the area and understands the potential growth and wants to grow with me," Hackshaw said. "Trek, Specialized, and Cannondale are huge. I didn't want to go buy a whole bunch of bikes and then that's it. I'm not saying other brands would treat me that way, but I can tell you I'm very, very pleased with the Giant rep and the Giant family I've been in contact with so far."

BCOutdoors will have a bike rental fleet, including e-MTBs. The nearby Fire Mountain trails are a rarity in the area in that e-bikes are allowed because the national forest land is owned by the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians. "E-bikes are definitely a thing," Hackshaw said. "They probably will be the majority of our rental fleet."

While the industry is amid a turbulent time coming after the COVID boom, Hackshaw said he relishes the road ahead.

"One of the benefits we have now in the industry is we're green. I've never owned a bike shop. I know the last two years a lot of bike shops have gone from no inventory, to too much inventory, and I have the opportunity right now to really talk to my industry partners and say, 'What do I need, what are you seeing, and I don't have any inventory, so let's build it from scratch."

Specialized also recently closed one location of McLain's Cycle & Fitness in Michigan, which was a three-store chain when the company bought it in 2021.



Join the Conversation