Release Date: June 23,2017
Electric Pete’s E-Bikes is the latest business to make a home in Downtown Akron. Located in the Evans Building near the corner of South Main and Exchange Streets, the shop offers electric bicycle sales, and parts and repairs for all bikes. The store held a successful open house on June 19 with many people stopping in for test rides.
Electric Pete’s is the 14th business to open with the assistance of Downtown Akron Partnership’s (DAP) pop-up retail program. The program, which launched in early 2015, aims to fill vacant property space with local clients in order to promote economic development and the vibrancy of Downtown Akron. The program is currently in phase two with support from The Burton D. Morgan Foundation.
“I’ve always been a fan of two wheels,” said owner Pete Smakula. “Motorcycles and bicycles have been a big part of my life for years. I’ve been watching the technology of electric bikes for more than five years. Within the last two years, with the advent of really good lithium batteries and good electronics, the latest electric bicycles have become very good. So, that sparked my idea to open a store.”
In selecting Downtown Akron as a location, Smakula was interested in an area without much competition that was also close to a protected trail. With the addition of the Main Street cycle track last summer, his decision was easy and he looks forward to the benefits of being in the city’s core.
“I was very surprised to see a lot of people out in the evening and that downtown wasn’t a ghost town by 5:30 p.m. So, Akron really does show some signs of night life,” he said.
When entering the shop, customers can expect a friendly greeting and a staff knowledgeable about the products and services, women’s apparel available in sizes for all body types, and the opportunity to test ride.
“That’s the biggest part of experiencing an electric bike,” said Smakula. “Because it’s something that you’ve never ridden before, you have to try it out. It’s totally new technology, a totally new way of thinking for transportation and people are going to have a lot of questions. I need to be knowledgeable about my product and its use to help people along.”
Operating the bikes is extremely easy according to Smakula. A rider gets on, pushes a button and starts pedaling. The motor will give some assist. The power level is easily adjustable at the press of a button. There are adjustable gears to match the terrain of the rider making most any location accessible. The average range is easily 20-50 miles per charge. Range varies with power level selected and the terrain.
The average cost of an electric bike is $2,000 with the typical audience being older adults and commuters. While children’s bikes aren’t readily available, there is the opportunity to add a tag along or trailer to the bikes making it much easier to ride around. There are also cargo bikes that can carry heavier loads with child seats that can be easily installed.
Electric Pete’s E-Bikes can be found on Facebook or by calling 330-204-5227. The shop’s hours are being adjusted, but the current schedule is Wednesday through Friday from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 12 to 8 p.m. Customers traveling a long distance are encouraged to call ahead to confirm the store is open.