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Simon Firth and David Wilson will soon open Firth & Wilson, Philly's newest full-service bicycle shop, and while store ownership is a new venture for the business partners, they're no strangers to cycling. Firth and Wilson are bona fide industry vets with decades of combined experience, which will now be applied to their 933 Spring Garden Street store.
The 2,000-square-foot shop will specialize in transport and city bikes and has a projected opening date of June 1, which translates to two months of mayhem and construction: "We need to change the whole place; it's going to need to be taken apart and rebuilt," says Firth.
Simon, tell us about your paths to bike shop ownership.
It was time to start something for ourselves. I worked in London as a bicycle messenger, then I ended up in Philly via San Francisco and got a job at Via Bicycles in '95; rode my bike across the country in '96; then I came back to a job at Bilenky [Cycle Works]. I worked there for 14 years! David has worked all over the US and abroad as a framebuilder, bike mechanic, and in retail.
What will be the shop's specialty?
We'll be concentrating on transport and city bikes and providing expert service on internal geared bikes, cargo bikes, and trikes. David and I have both designed and built cargo bikes and city bikes and have years of experience riding and working on bicycles in cities all over the USA and Europe. I'm also the official North American repairman for Brooks Saddles.
Why did you decide on the 933 Spring Garden Street address?
We had been looking for a space for some time and had seen some in this area, but most needed too much work. This place (formerly Colosimo's gun shop) has a great frontage, and it's right on a major east-west bike lane. Also, the planned Reading Viaduct project is half a block away.
Rumor has it you'd like to open a cafe.
Our initial idea was a large space with a coffee shop and bike shop in one. It's something we would love to do and hope to find the right space for at some point.
Until the shop opens in June, how can people get in touch with you?
We will be setting up a website soon, but for now we can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org or (215) 410-7296.
· Hanford Cycles [Facebook]