Joplin cyclists now have a new supplier for their cycling needs. Blue’s Bike Company, which opened in March 2015, has stepped into the place left by recently closed downtown bike shop, Spokes and Spandex.
Owner Mark Cox, who worked at Spokes and Spandex for almost six years before taking on firefighting full time in 2010, said it has always been a lifelong goal for he and his father to open a bike shop. The shop’s name serves to commemorate Cox’s father, who went by Blue at the fire station where he also worked, and never got the opportunity to live out their dream before passing away.
Spokes and Spandex owner Steven Cooper expressed to Cox his desire to retire, and the two worked to move the former shop’s inventory to Blue’s.
“We communicated and had a lot of coordination between the two of us and had a nice, smooth transition into a new shop,” said Cox.
Blue’s took over more than just inventory from Spokes and Spandex. All three of Cox’s employees previously worked at Cooper’s old shop and are conducting business as usual at the new location.
Cox said he’s been looking for a prime spot for Blue’s for the past year, and settled on this location because it is within three miles from any point in the city. He wanted to find a place centrally located so the shop could be a hub for commuters.
According to Cox, the growing cycling community required a bigger bike shop, and he believes having bike shops in the area will promote continued growth, as well as healthier lifestyles.
“We need to get more riders out on the street,” he said.
Although the bike shop offers traditional products and services, such as bikes, bike parts and apparel, Cox said he wants Blue’s to have a cool, laid back atmosphere.
“Everyone’s just, you know, welcome to come in, hang out — [we want to] become the local hub bike shop,” said Cox.
Currently, Blue’s serves as a Specialized brand bike dealer, and while there are around 60 bikes on the floor at a time, customers can order a custom bike through the shop and expect to see their new ride in three to five days. Cox said he plans to add two more brands to their inventory by next spring.
The shop also offers services and repairs on any make or model of bike. The service shop can hold up to 55 bikes at a time, although Cox said more racks are in the making, which would allow them to house 70 to 75 bikes, a necessary upgrade as they are currently pushing out up to 60 repairs each month.
Cox said he has plans to set up bike repair classes so customers can learn to do basic maintenance at home.
“That way they can learn how to change a flat and they can learn how to do some basic maintenance to kind of keep their bike up and going if we’re not available to help them,” he said. “You’re going to have to eventually learn how to do some of that if you’re planning on being on the wheels quite a bit.”
Blue’s also hosts Tuesday evening group rides for any community members looking to get some extra time in the saddle. Cox said he wants to orchestrate Monday evening mountain bike group rides and Sunday afternoon group rides as well.
Cox can be found at the shop when he isn’t working a 24-hour shift every third day at the fire station
“I don’t really consider this a job. It’s more, just, coming to work, hanging out with your buddies, getting to play with bicycles all day, and just do some really cool stuff,” said Cox.