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Bokoo Bikes

Chanhassen, MN

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One of the biggest challenges facing sports-equipment retailers is letting customers try out the merchandise. So when Bokoo Bikes opened a prototype store in Chanhassen, Minn., owner Ed Vigil took the road less-traveled: He positioned the store in a natural setting next to a bike trail so customers could test-ride the merchandise. A bicycler's oasis, the 10,000-square-foot store sells bikes and related products and offers repair and maintenance services. The building's exterior features attractive architectural elements — a clock tower, arched windows with stonework and copper finials atop the roof. Inside, product presentation imitates the biker lifestyle. Custom-built fixtures incorporate bike parts, such as tires, bolts and hardware. “Curvalicious” bike displays at the front entrance spotlight the “bicycle of the moment.” And counters with bar stools encourage customers to lounge while planning bike trips, contemplating purchases or waiting for bike repairs.

Vigil says he wanted to create a unique experience with an emphasis on customer service. So in addition to the nearby bike trail, customer-cosseting features include a lake in front, an outdoor patio, kids'play area, bike-maintenance classes, indoor bicycling in the winter and a three-year program for parents (kids can trade in their outgrown bikes for a discount). Though originally just “a thought,” the new store is getting a phenomenal reaction, says Vigil, who plans to roll out the concept over the next few years.

Client: Vigil Companies Ltd., Eden Prairie, Minn. — Ed Vigil, owner Design Team: Interior Systems Inc., Fond du Lac, Wis. — Shannon Hakala, designer; Kari Muenster, creative director; Stacey Olin, sales Architect: Lampert Architects, Ham Lake, Minn. — Len Hampert, senior project designer; Ed Romo, head designer/initial conception General Contractor: Amcon Construction, Burnsville, Minn. Suppliers: Sony, Tokyo (audio/video); Duralee Fabrics, Bay Shore, N.Y. (fabrics); 3M Colorquartz, St. Paul, Minn., Blue Ridge Carpet, Ellijay, Ga. (flooring); Interior Systems Inc., Fond du Lac, Wis. (fixturing, graphics); Halo Lighting, Peachtree City, Ga. (lighting); Nevamar, Odenton, Md., Laminart, Elk Grove Village, Ill., Arborite, LaSalle Que. (laminates); Sign Images, Osseo, Minn. (signage); Innovations in Wallcoverings, New York (wallcoverings) Photography: Steve Hanke, Minneapolis

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