Downshift Bikes & Brews, a bike shop and cafe in downtown Roanoke, is changing its business model.
Owner Stephen Ambruzs said Downshift will continue to service bicycles, but not sell them, at a new space at 210 Fourth St. S.W. When safer to do so, it will resume hosting group rides and events. The cafe and coffee shop are closed for now, but some favorite menu items will eventually be available through a partnership with Golden Cactus Brewing.
The changes are the result of several factors, Ambruz said. The community-building aspect of the business provided by the coffee shop and group rides has been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. There’s an extremely limited supply of bikes, parts and accessories given this year’s boom in cycling. He’s also juggling becoming a father.
“We needed to change what we were doing in order to both be sort of current with how businesses are operating and also to do what’s best for our staff and our family,” he said.
Downshift plans to offer socially distant bike service, Ambruzs said, launching a new website where customers can book and pay for service online. Downshift will pick up the bike and return it following service. Customers don’t have to leave their house or come into the shop.
“It’s very much a COVID-friendly bike service,” Ambruzs said.