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This article was published 12/7/2014 (1020 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It started as no more than an entry into a competition.
It ended as one of The Forks' newest businesses.
Brendan McAndrew wasn't necessarily planning to open a bike store until he realized his winning idea for a business-plan competition was exactly what The Forks was looking for.
That's how White Pines Fixies -- a pop-up bicycle store -- came to be.
'Instead of saying what the rent might be, they asked me to come in for a meeting and... were super excited about the idea to start the business'
The store, operating out of a large canvas tent structure, opened this month outside the southeast doors of The Forks Public Market.
In preparing for a school business-plan competition in February, McAndrew, who just turned 22 and is a student at the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba, called The Forks to get a quote on the cost of leasing space to make the business plan as accurate as possible.
"When I called them, I didn't tell them it was for a business-plan competition," said McAndrew. "Instead of saying what the rent might be, they asked me to come in for a meeting and the people at The Forks were super-excited about the idea to start the business."
McAndrew went on to win the entrepreneur competition and the $5,000 first-place prize, and he decided to go ahead and start the business.
White Pine Fixies sells a private-label fixed-gear and single-speed urban bike as well as renting bikes by the hour to visitors to The Forks.
Chelsea Thomson, marketing and communications co-ordinator for The Forks, said the bike shop is the first step in improving cycling amenities at The Forks.
"We want to add more spots to lock bikes up and to have the ability to store bike equipment," she said. "We get a lot of requests because -- it is a meeting point, a stop through -- people are looking for a safe place to store helmets and gloves. It's a way to continue the connection with other downtown neighbourhoods."
McAndrew isn't necessarily a bicycle expert; in fact, the young entrepreneur had been in the automobile business, buying and selling vehicles.
He said he was making decent money, but with the decline in value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar, he was starting to encounter some issues.
He was able to fund White Pine Fixies with the proceeds from selling the inventory of that business. And he did have some previous experience with the kind of urban bikes he's now selling.
"I had one shipped in from California and it was a real hassle," he said.
What McAndrew is doing is buying "white-label" bikes and applying his own White Pine Fixies brand to the bikes he has imported from California.
They sell for between $399 and $449, price points that are far below the urban-bike models made by larger bike brands such as Giant and Norco and sold at some of the more established bike shops in town.
He's also brought in some beach-cruiser styles for the rental market, which he said is preferred by older renters. "Those bikes have fat tires and bounce around," he said. "Low and slow is the motto."
McAndrew is not certain about the future of the business. He has a contract to lease the space until September, and he said a more permanent location might be in the works at some point.