Nick Drombosky, owner and founder of Fiks: Reflective, has opened two new businesses on Baum Boulevard that aim to make cycling in Pittsburgh a one-stop operation.
After designing his groovy reflective rim stripes, Drombosky moved on to high-end retail, catering to cyclists who are looking for both gear and clothing that can stand the test of time and rides of all types.
“I think that the textile and garment industry is really strong in the United States,” says Drombosky. He believes that quality products come from transparent companies with solid manufacturing practices. “So I’m giving you the option. Do you want to know how your gear is made?”
Banker Supply— named for the Banker Brothers that used to occupy the building and jumped ship on their father’s bicycle business to pursue the automotive trend– carries brand name gear and clothing that Drombosky believes is worth a little extra money.
Drombosky says this is largely due to a new culture emerging behind cycling that makes a shop like Banker Supply make sense.
“If you look at what happened with surf and skate culture in the nineties, that California attitude was sold to twelve-year-old kids in Cincinnati, Ohio. I think biking is in a similar place. It used to be dorky, now it’s becoming cool. A lot of people now, they just ride bikes because they like it. That’s what makes it cool.”
Attached to Banker Supply is Drombosky’s third business venture: a bike maintenance service he’s calling Sayle.
“Kind of like Geek Squad inside of Best Buy,” he says.
The maintenance service, which launched in early November, focuses on making biking the most convenient way of getting around. Not only will the shop be appointment-based (complete with beer and coffee bar), but Drombosky is looking to invest in a van for both mobile and delivery services.
Drombosky also plans to establish a bike-swapping system in which cyclists who require maintenance– but still need to finish their commute every day– are able to drop off their bike and hop on a “loaner”, right there in the store.
The place won’t even have to be open, Drombosky says. There will be a bluetooth lock system that allows bikers with varying schedules to acquire a key from the store via their cell phone, giving them access to both loaner bikes and their finished ones.
Drombosky believes this ease of service is what will refresh the world of bike repair, which he says is a little dry, due to the fact it hasn’t been re-imagined for half a century.
“Right now, people are at the mercy of the mechanic. You shouldn’t have to schedule your life around bike repair.”