While we were in Chicago I had the pleasure of visiting the Heritage General Store.
The bicycle-repair-and-coffee shop (or “bicycle café”) was even more welcoming than I assumed after reading about Heritage on GridChicago.
We stopped by on our last day in Chicago to get a bite to eat and a cup of coffee before heading to the train. When we stopped in we were greeted by the smell of Portland’s own Stumptown Coffee and a few of Heritage’s smiling staff.
We weren’t in the mood for pasteries (although they looked amazing) so we each had a store-made veggie sandwich which hit the spot. It was also a lot of fun sipping on Stumptown knowing it came all the way from home.
After the sandwiches were finished we still had some coffee left so we decided to look around at some of the merchandise they had in stock.
They had some really fun bike accessories and I ended up walking away with one of their t-shirts.
You can also get your bike repaired at Heritage.
Their service menu includes pretty much everything (and then some) that you’d find at your run-of-the-mill bike shop but at Heritage you can get a cup of coffee included in the price of your flat repair.
They also have a limited number of gorgeous city bikes for sale.
For a moment we started to calculate shipping costs for a bike in our minds but quickly decided that sort of purchase will have to wait, at least until our second trip to Chicago.
The Heritage General Store is taking advantage of a simple strategy that all other bike shops should learn from: make your customers welcome and give them a reason to stick around for awhile so they feel like browsing.
Haven’t you ever noticed how most car dealerships have a lounge, coffee, and sometimes even a television for customers? They’ve got the concept figured out but Heritage does it in a way that is infinitely more pleasant and inviting than the fluorescent lighting and hard tile of a car showroom.
In the end Heritage has the advantage because it can exploit one simple formula:
Combining bicycles and coffee (as well as hospitality) is, without a doubt, a Prudent Decision.