‘I’m actually in my movement state after I’m out on a motorcycle’: Native bike store opening in Guelph

Nate Lessnick, owner of Flow State Bike Co., is ready for the grand opening planned for Nov. 12 at 599 Arkell Rd.

Flow State Bike Co. is almost ready for their grand opening on Nov. 12, which will feature food and drinks, live music and family fun.

Nathaniel Lessnick, owner and local resident, said the business idea was inspired by the location. He walked into the 599 Arkell Rd. building that was previously a restaurant and market and knew he loved it.

“I never really thought I would open a shop. But if this is what I want and I’m not seeing it, then maybe it’s time for me to do something about it,” Lessnick said, who reached out to the building’s owners long before the space was vacant.

Having worked for a mountain biking company for eight years while travelling the world, Lessnick saw many places frequented by cyclists, so he knew this location, with its proximity to trails and ease of accessibility, would be ideal for a store. He also felt there was a real niche to be filled in the industry.

“As a passionate cyclist, I found myself rarely going to bike shops unless I needed a part or maintenance, it wasn’t really a place that I would hang out at,” said Lessnick. “But if you bring in more than bikes and components and parts and have a place for people to gather and hang out after a ride, you’re really elevating the experience.”

He said that his idea for a bike shop that is a community gathering space makes it “a place that people can feel welcome,” and one not intimidating to those who are new to cycling.

Lessnick is opening Flow State Bike Co. as a coffee bar first, then will grow the business to include bikes by next spring. To start, he said they will have snacks, sandwiches, coffee, ice cream and beer. And not to forget the branded apparel and gear ready for purchase, as well. Although there are shops that carry bigger-name bicycles, he saw an opportunity to bring in desired, lesser-known boutique brands.

Interestingly, though many businesses struggled through recent pandemic conditions, bikes saw a huge jump in sales.

“Bikes sold out quickly, and wait times for service exceeded months sometimes,” said Lessnick. “I really saw that there was a need for more bike shops in the area.”

Lessnick explained there are six trail systems within about a half-hour radius of the shop. There are also many country roads to enjoy and city destinations.

“Even from a mental health standpoint, I think it is really healthy to get out on a bike and enjoy the outdoors,” said Lessnick, who admitted it has been very helpful for him. “That’s why I named it Flow State, because I am really in my flow state when I’m out on a bike, and I want to recreate that for others too,” he said, because when someone is in the zone, they are unstoppable.

And Lessnick said it has been great to see the local community support his ideas, building partnerships with brands like Lost Aviator Coffee Company, Fixed Gear Brewing and Gilbert’s Delicatessen. Of course, he also has the support of his wife, Kera Hunt-Lessnick, and their almost-two-year-old, Louie, who loves bikes already.

About cycling, Lessnick said this: “I think it has tremendous potential to do good in the world, so if I get more people on bikes, I’m happy.”

Flow State Bike Co. can be followed on Facebook and Instagram, and more information can be found at flowstatebikeco.com.

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