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New Rochester bicycle shop spins more E-bikes, less Spandex

Med City entrepreneur Nate Nordstrom is gearing up his new shop to introduce Rochester to electric assist bicycles while also carrying standard bike brands, like Giant. The shop will open by Babcock Auto Care at 5335 East Frontage Road NW by March, if not sooner.

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Nate Nordstrom of Brandhoot is opening a new bike shop, called New Spin, that will be the only local spot to sell electric bikes as well as a selection of standard bikes. Nate is shown here with his wife, Amy Nordstrom, with a pair of electric bikes. (Contributed photo)

Med City entrepreneur Nate Nordstrom hasn’t been coasting through the pandemic. He has spent his time gearing up to open a new kind of bicycle shop in Rochester.

“2020 has made everybody re-consider what they are doing with their time and their life,” he said of why he added a new project to his already busy schedule running his website and custom application development firm, Brandhoot .

He plans to introduce Rochester to electric assist bicycles, while also carrying standard bike brands, like Giant, in his New Spin Bicycle Shop.

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It all started when he and his wife, Amy, purchased electric assist bikes in 2018. While the bicycles can be manually pedaled, they also offer different settings of powered "assistance” to manage long distances, steep hills, heavy loads or just a desire to not sweat during a morning commute. Some models even fold up for easy storage once the rider makes it to the office.

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With four small children, each parent loaded two on their bike and they went for a long ride. The electric assist made it easy to haul two children, and both parents could keep the same pace.

Though he is more comfortable in front of a computer than on a bike, Nordstrom really enjoyed the E-bike experience.

“It was really cool. Life changing is not an overstatement. We could go on family bike rides again with little kids and have a great time,” he said, “Then I started wondering why nobody was selling these E-bikes around here.”

Erik's Bike Shop and Bicycle Sports also sell electric bicycles.

For the Nordstroms, E-bikes made bicycling fun and manageable for casual riders. While they could get as much exercise as they wanted, the assist motors could propel them at 20 mph and make rides from Rochester to Oxbow Park possible.

That opened up the idea of more bike commuting, businesses using the bikes for local deliveries and E-bikes giving older people or those with physical restrictions the opportunity to ride, he said.

He described it as biking for people who don’t want to wear Spandex but want to have fun with a little bit of exercise.

E-bikes are much more expensive than ordinary bikes with the most popular models ranging from $2,500 to $4,000.

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The concept of a small electric bike store was just starting to take root in his mind, when "Honest" Paul Myhrom announced in September that he was retiring and would close his Honest Bike Shop . Myhrom’s store was the only Rochester one that carried Giant brand bikes and parts.

Nordstrom said that Myhrom's closing was a “key piece of the puzzle” as he worked out his business plan. His idea, and the store, grew to include Giant brand bicycles along with electric bike makers such as Urban Arrow. New Spin will also carry Tern and Terra Trike, which make both E-bikes and standard bicycles.

“New Spin will be as much of a bike shop as any other bike shop in town . . . though our target market will be more of the average person than a typical bike shop,” he said. “It won’t be a Spandex kind of a shop. We’ll sell to hard core bikers, too, but that’s not our focus.”

Another piece to the New Spin plan was how Nordstrom was going to keep running the day-to-day operations of Brandhoot. He needed a manager to run the bike shop and found Glenn Martin, who has years of experience managing area bike shops with his brother.

The plan is to open the doors of the 2,300-square-foot shop at 5335 East Frontage Road NW by March, if not sooner. It is located next door to Babcock Auto Care.

Given that he already has a technology business to run full-time, why add a retail shop to his to-do list?

“Parents have a Christmas tree farm in Nebraska. . . . I loved serving customers,” said Nordstrom. “I just wanted to get my hands dirty with something new.”

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