New bike shop fills a niche

MONMOUTH -- Chris Eggen was waiting to have an official grand opening for his bike shop on Saturday, but community demand persuaded him to open the doors a few days early.Bikes Plus is the only bike shop in Monmouth, the first in a few years. If Eggen, the shop's general manager, had it his way, the shop would have opened years ago.With the help of owner and investor Nancy Marinelli, Eggen finally realized his dream and opened the shop in downtown Monmouth along Main Street early last week."An old friend, Nancy, approached me with the idea of putting a bike shop in Monmouth," Eggen said. "The once dry town has been dry of a bicycle shop for five years or so. It sounded like a great idea and I had a business plan already."On top of being a full-service bike shop with an array of bikes for sale and rental -- mountain bikes, BMX, cross-country -- Eggen is also expanding the store's lineup to include skateboards, hammocks and disc golf supplies.The shop also has a mobile repair unit that can be hauled to events across the state.Eggen was starting a new career at Wave Broadband when Marinelli approached him with the idea. But biking is in his blood -- it's what wakes him up in the morning and pushes him through the day."My passion is bikes and getting people on bikes," Eggen said. "That's what makes me happy, so that's what I want to do."Eggen has been working on bikes for more than a decade and been downhill racing for much longer.The five-person crew at Bikes Plus couldn't move into its new space until April 15. Many repairs were needed to bring the facility up to code -- something Eggen said he could've done himself, but he would still be there hammering away.Eggen contracted out the heavy-duty repairs to adhere to code but did most of the woodworking himself.The once empty space now has a clean arrangement of bikes, parts and other accessories."The 29th (Saturday) is when we're going to do our grand opening, but we're doing repairs and we're off and moving," Eggen said. "We've been working on bikes in that mobile unit during our start-up phase."Though Bikes Plus just opened its doors, it's already become involved in the community -- donating a bike to Western Oregon University's annual Wolves Athletic Auction and acting as a registration site for the Bike MS event coming in August."From what I'm gathering, they're (Western) supposed to have a record high attendance this summer ... something like 2,500 students," Eggen said. "We've already got the Monmouth Police Department bikes all shined up and ready for the parade. We've been hustling and bustling."Riders on the storm What: Veal Bikes Plus, a full-service bike and repair shop. Where: 155 W. Main St., Monmouth. Hours: Summer hours, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; winter hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information: 503-837-1837; www.facebook.com/vealbikesplus.

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