Sunday, March 21, 2010

Local Headlines: Doe's Fire,Orbea Store

Fire At Doe's Eat Place
..from the Arkansas Time blog:
Doe's was damaged by an apparent grease fire late Friday night. I consider Doe's to be one of the better burger eateries in town and also have an appreciation for their tamales, though I must admit I've never tried one of their trademark steaks. The aroma of hot grease never fails to tempt me as I ride down Markham Street and on several occasions I have rolled in to fill my belly while cruising town on a day off or a lunchtime ride. They just smile when I roll the bike through to the patio, so I rate Doe's as bike-friendly and hope they recover from the fire soon. Their outside dining area is a nice refuge on a spring day, though, like many outside dining areas in our town, the fresh air is often tainted by cigarette smoke.

One word of caution: Bike shoes on the greasy tile floors make for some challenging footing.

Orbea Concept Store To Open

From Arkansas Business...

"Little Rock cyclists are by summer going to have a unique laboratory at their disposal, courtesy of Orbea.

The elite Spanish bike manufacturer's headquarters for the Americas, in North Little Rock, is looking for retail space for "a true high-end bicycle concept retail store," Tony Karklins, the managing director for Orbea USA, confirmed to Whispers. "
After missing out on a location on President Clinton Avenue in downtown Little Rock, Orbea is still seeking a 3,000- to 4,000-SF retail space near the city's urban core and cycling center. (Presumably, that means ready access to the Arkansas River Trail, which brings North Little Rock space into consideration.) "

I like the idea of a downtown bike store, complete with a coffee bar, though I'm unsure of the affect on other shops in our already bike shop rich market. I had some conversations about the idea some months ago with one of the Orbea folks and I was somewhat surprised that their preferred location was the River Market area. They were also looking at an Argenta site, which would seem to give the concept a better chance of success. The attraction of the River Market site is the traffic count, which in my mind would also be the kiss of death. The killer of the many retail attempts in the River Market has been parking and almost any specialty retail demands convenience. Buyers of bicycles, accessories and service do not want to have to circle in search of inconvenient parking and then carry their goods to and fro for the likely couple of blocks distance. And the most likely times that most of us have for bike shop stops coincides with the most difficult parking hours in the Market area: lunch, evenings and Saturdays. When I opt for an outdoor lunch at the River Market on a pleasant day, I often find that the easiest option for parking is to park at the sub and walk over the Junction Bridge. While the traffic count is high, very few of the tourists and partiers who make up that traffic are likely to impulsively drop the bucks for a bike, being more in the market for a souvenir t-shirt or a cold IPA. Argenta offers easy access to the River Trail and, at least for now, readily available parking.
I wish the Orbea folks success wherever they may land. The idea of a comfortable atmosphere where we cyclists  can visit over a cup of good coffee and a bite to eat definitely has appeal and I think the market is mature enough to support it. If the idea is for a coffee house with a bike shop motif, the River Market may be the place. If Orbea wants to have a successful specialty retail operation with the added amenities and warmth of a little food, conversation, and hot java, it will also have to be convenient for the customer who just wants to pop in and buy something.

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