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Friday, January 15, 2021

Kona Bikes opens new Bellingham location

Kona Bike Company held their grand opening of their Bellingham shop on Saturday, June 20. The opening welcomed all bike enthusiasts with discounts and a summer solstice party. Photo by Yaelle Kimmelman
Kona Bike Company held their grand opening of their Bellingham shop on Saturday, June 20. The opening welcomed all bike enthusiasts with discounts and a summer solstice party. Photo by Yaelle Kimmelman

Ferndale bike manufacturer Kona Bikes is putting down roots with its first store in Bellingham to not only show off all of its stock, but also build community in the place where the brand was originally developed.Since this is the company’s home base, the bikes are tested and designed here, Kona Bikes employee Cory Blackwood said.

The new location at 1622 North State Street intends to house the entire line of Kona bicycles, something that no other Kona dealer in the world can do, sales representative Amanda Bryan said.

“We really wanted to have a place where we can showcase everything that Kona does, and then make it where if you come in and there’s a bike that you wanted to check out, we could show you all the different lines we have,” Bryan said.

From its beefy downhill machines for mountain biking to nimble commuters for the street, any of the 75 models that Kona produces can be inspected and tested at the new location, Bryan said.

Since Kona headquarters is only as far as Ferndale, any bicycle size that isn’t in stock can be built and delivered next day, Bryan said.

Besides operating as a see-it-all showroom, Kona hopes that the new storefront will increase community outreach through partnerships with a city that is so tightly bonded with cycling, Blackwood said.

Western senior Kristian Duft, one of the founding members of the WWU Mountain Biking Club, said he’s happy to see another bike shop come to town.

“It’s always exciting here in Washington. We’re kind of in the epicenter of mountain biking so we have companies like Kona, that are global brands, based right here 10 minutes up the road,” Duft said.

During its grand opening on Saturday, June 20, Kona opened its showroom doors where it had  T-shirt screen-printing and a raffle to win one of its mountain bikes.

All proceeds of the raffle went towards the Whatcom Mountain Bike Coalition (WMBC), a local nonprofit.

The WMBC operates as stewards to the biking destination Galbraith Mountain in Bellingham, said WMBC Vice President Val Thompson.

WMBC actively maintains the trails on Galbraith along with many other Whatcom county locations, and Kona has been very involved with the trail adoption program as well as other events, so WMBC came out to support Kona’s opening day, Thompson said.

“We’re happy for [Kona] and appreciate all [its] support over many years,” Thompson said.

As Kona’s Advocacy Director, Blackwood has dealt with many bicycle organizations across the nation to build ties with the company, and said he believes WMBC to be one of the best.

In addition to connecting with nonprofits such as WMBC, Blackwood said he believes that more bike stores in town does everyone else in the industry some good.

“A rising water raises all ships,” Blackwood said “We’re a bigger brand than [other bike stores], if we can grow the cycling market and they’re growing the cycling market, that’s awesome for everybody.”

During their first info fair tabling, the WWU Mountain Biking Club had 200 people sign up when no more than 50 people were expected.

“That was exactly what Western was missing, just a way to organize a community of mountain bike riders across campus, we just wanted to connect people,” Duft said.

The Kona brand has a strong presence in Bellingham, Duft said. Many of his friends ride Kona cycles and he sees them as very popular bikes in this area.

“To see them move into town and have a showroom to show off their coolest, sweetest bikes that are all designed and prototyped here in Bellingham on these trails, is super exciting,” Duft said.

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