It’s a bit delayed, but all of a sudden construction at the new Funsport Bikes location in Modesto is going gangbusters.
“It says coming 2015,” co-owner Brian Zahra said of the sign at the site, at Briggsmore Avenue and Oakdale Road. “It’s been a long time coming.”
Zahra and his partners, brothers Richard and Steve Burton, bought the land in 2011. Though they didn’t get building going as soon as they’d hoped, “We finally got everything working the way we want it to work. We went from zero to hero real quick.”
Funsport Bikes has operated in McHenry Village since 1995. And since that time, despite the growth of technology like smartphones and video games – or maybe along with it – bicycling has grown in popularity.
“It’s crazy how much the Valley has changed,” said Zahra, who has been with the business since 1999. “Back then, you’d be on a bike ride and maybe see one person. Now you’ll come across groups of riders.”
And they run the gamut, from professional cyclists to families taking part in a Saturday outing. It’s as easy as, well ...
“I’ve sold BMX bikes to kids who now are coming in with their kids and buying their first-time bikes,” Zahra said.
That growing popularity has Funsport bursting at the seams.
“We’ve expanded a few times here, adding bikes as much as we can,” Zahra said. “We’ve met the max potential of this location.”
The site at Briggsmore and Oakdale also allowed the partners to purchase the property rather than rent. “We want to control our own destiny,” Zahra said. “We are taking the steps to be here for a very long time.”
When complete – hopefully, this summer – the building will offer 14,000 square feet. Of that, 11,000 square feet will be a showroom for bicycles and associated equipment.
The future of the McHenry Village location remains to be seen.
“We haven’t decided what we really want to do,” Zahra said. “We don’t know if Modesto is big enough to keep a third shop.” The Burton brothers separately own World of Wheels on Standiford Avenue.
A decision on the McHenry Village site will be made after the new building is complete. In the meantime, Zahra said he is looking forward to expanding the bicycling culture around here even more. And he issued a challenge: “There’s no reason why we don’t have more people riding to work,” he said. “The weather around here is pretty great.”
Elsewhere around the Business Beat:
Leadership Modesto 2017, a program by the Modesto Chamber of Commerce, has announced its project. Each year, the class – a group of business people that meets monthly to learn about various agencies and industries – picks something to benefit the community.
LeMo, as it’s called, will beautify downtown intersections: I Street at 10th and 11th streets, in front of the Gallo Center for the Arts.
According to a press release, “The intersections will be transformed into creative art designed by local artists, with an emphasis on music and performing arts.”
An “unveiling” is set from 4 to 6 p.m. May 12. For more information, go to lemo2017.wixsite.com/intersectionofart.