Bike shop pedals through management, store changes

Bike shop pedals through management, store changes

Bike shop pedals through management, store changes
August 31
20:22 2015

Kayleigh Bywater | Senior Staff Writer

@kayleighbywater

Despite management change, Sprockets still strives to put customers first.

Since August 2011, Sprockets Denton has been a bicycle haven for the cycling community in Denton. With humble beginnings in an apartment, Sprockets has expanded into a 3,000-square-foot storefront on the Denton Square and provides reasonably-priced bikes and repair services to the community.

Inside the shop, the walls are lined with bikes, tools and accessories surrounding a coffee bar and sitting area. The back of the shop houses a repair area where employees, and sometimes customers, fix bikes.

UNT alumnus Brandon Dupré recently took over the store after previous owner Sipo Thao left to take care of his family. Dupré was the first employee at Sprockets.

“I had actually known Sipo for about a year or so before he opened Sprockets,” Dupré said. “I had always been a fan of buying stuff [from] Craigslist and at the time, he was selling bikes online for pocket change. However, I had heard that he wanted to start up a bike shop.”

Dupré said the business took off when it moved to Hickory Street in the summer of 2014. The opportunity for storage and floor space increased and they were able to add more amenities for customers.

“[Thao] pretty much turned what he was doing for extra cash into a full-blown business,” Dupré said.

08-31-15-Sidney-Sprockets

Ali Crawford sits inside the coffee section of Sprockets Bicycle Shop on Wednesday, August 19, 2015.Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

Immediately after Sprockets changed location, Thao married Ngoc Nguyen, co-owner of NV Cupcakes. Their relationship gave way to the creation of a full coffee bar inside the shop. Dupré said the bar, along with some other aspects of the shop, could change just as the managers did.

“Foremost, our bread and butter is the shop. The model that Sipo created is one that works. I’m not one to mess with a good thing,” Dupré said. “What I would like to do, however, is orient the bar side to be more health-conscious. Cupcakes are great, but they are also very gluttonous and unhealthy to be in a bike shop.”

Making the coffee bar a less prominent feature of the business doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going away.

“As for drinks, I prefer to do pour-overs and pre-made drinks, or a bring-your-own-cup type of situation,” Dupré said. “My main focus is our bikes.”

Sprockets manager Randall Minick said he does not feel the change will negatively impact the business because they always put their customers first.

“It will be hard with the loss of NV Cupcakes, because people loved the desserts,” Minick said. “However, I do think it’s time that we do something fresh and different with a healthy spin. It is tough, because Sipo and his wife were an iconic part of Sprockets, but I think Brandon is going to do anything he can to bring in more and more people to the shop.”

Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

Hats and backpacks hang on a wall at Sprockets Bicycle Shop on Wednesday, August 19, 2015. Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer

Dupre said he wants to downgrade the coffee bar to make more room for bikes and accessories.

“There [are] a crazy amount of coffee shops in the area, but barely any bike shops,” Dupré said. “We really try to play towards the college life, and we know college kids are on a budget. If we can bring in a wider variety of used bikes at reduced prices, then I think it is worth not focusing as much on the coffee bar at the moment.”

Along with the changes, Dupré also wants to bring a stronger community vibe to the shop. He said it is important to be in touch with local artists and musicians.

“I have a background in art, so I kind of want to spruce up the overall look of the shop,” Dupré said. “I think it is also important to be an outlet for non-biking related ideas as well, like playing local bands and putting local artists’ works up on our walls. That way, we can bring something new to the table than just bringing your bike to get fixed.”

Integrated studies junior Matthew Guzman said he is no stranger to the shop. As a member of the UNT cycling club, he’s excited to see what the future holds for Sprockets.

“I went once, and now I go as much as I can,” Guzman said. “As for the change of ownership, I have known Brandon as long as I knew Sipo, and I know Brandon is great at running the shop. It really does not seem like much has changed.”

Minick said some people might see the changes as major, but he thinks Denton as a whole is excited to see the shop grow and expand with the community.

“The management of Sprockets may have changed, but our central core values are still the same,” Minick said. “We lost the cupcakes, but we are ready to find something even better.”

Featured Image: Sidney Johnson | Staff Photographer 

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