LOGAN SQUARE — A woman-owned bike shop is moving into a former vintage furniture store in Logan Square that is nearly double the size of its current Bucktown location.
Four Star Family Cyclery is upgrading to a bigger space, taking over the old Antique to Chic store at 3101 W. Diversey Ave., making it the first solely woman-owned bike business in the community.
Owner Elsbeth Cool, who lives in Logan Square close to the new location, said she is excited about the move, which will allow the shop to carry more bikes and gear and serve more costumers, most of whom already live in the neighborhood.
“I always wanted to move closer to home,” Cool said.
She said she looked for a bigger space for a while and when she walked by the old Antique to Chic and saw the “For Rent” sign, she jumped on it.
Construction at the new location has been underway since late January and the shop plans to be open for business March 1. To accommodate the move, Four Star Family Cyclery is having a 20 percent off bike sale now and will not take service appointments the last week of February.
The shop at 2115 N. Western Ave. is only about 700 square feet and the new location is nearly double the size, Cool said.
The new storefront has been vacant since October, when Damaris Aquino, co-owner of Antique to Chic, said she closed up the furniture shop after four years because the business was not seeing consistent customer traffic.
“It was harder to get walk-ins in the area but [I hope] it will get better for” Four Star Family Cyclery, Aquino said.
Aquino plans to open a store in a more crowded area, possibly on Milwaukee Avenue in Wicker Park, and she still operates the business online.
Cool prides herself on standing out amid other local bike shops because her shop is family-friendly, woman-owned and specializes in cargo and electric bikes by appointment only.
“We are not your average bike shop,” Cool said. “I think a lot of people come to us [saying] what a nice departure it is from your average bike shop experience.”
Her customer base is also what sets Four Star apart from those at other bike shops, she said. Most of her clientele are families with children, and Cool is the co-founder of the Chicago Family Biking Community group.
“Families that use our bikes use them like a car rather than a source of fun or hobby,” she said. “Seeing a lot of families who buy bikes [rather than] get into one car is an exciting way [to commute] that impacts our city.”
Mary Nisi, Logan Square resident and co-owner of Ampersand cowork and the DJ company Toast & Jam, bought her orange Tern GSD cargo bike from Four Star a year and a half ago and rides it as often as she can, especially when the weather is nice.
“I think I put 1,000 miles on it last summer,” Nisi said.
Nisi often bikes her son to school in the West Loop and said her husband uses the bike when it’s his turn to pick up their son. The two, who share one car, also uses the bike to transport groceries and for other errands.
Nisi, a co-founder of the Ladies of Logan business group, said having a woman-owned bike shop is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
“I see her bikes everywhere, so it’s lovely to see her getting bigger,” she said.
Nisi said she has experienced condescending treatment from men in bike shops in other neighborhoods in the past and said it’s refreshing to have a woman at the helm.
“Usually bike stores are run by dudes, not far off from a body shop,” Nisi said. “It’s nice having a woman in a situation like that because you know you are not being taken advantage of.”
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