Sunday, September 2, 2012

Dan's Bike and Key Shop - Ionia Michigan

Slight diversion before I get into it.  I snapped this pic...

Somewhere in MI and then had a memory meltdown as to where it was.  Cadillac?  Ionia?  Dunno...

Neat-o rack though.

On to the shop!

This is Dan's Bike and Key, located in picturesque downtown Ionia Michigan.  East of Grand Rapids and West of Lansing, just a stones throw from I-96.  I'm giving you the details because you should go there.

Google say...

350 West Main Street, Ionia, MI
(616) 527-0471 ‎ ·

Dan's has all kinds of cool stuff.  Lots of ambiance, cool architecture, downtown location, a funky employee with a nifty bushy beard and John Lennon glasses. The works.

Outside the box thinkers too.  Here's a bike on the rack that gets attention, at least from the astute of eye.  Yes that is a Shimano Alfine generator front hub on a 29er full suspension mountain bike.  A cool idea.

And the staffer's own Surly Pugsley with a full bar Jones handlebar in aluminum.  This pig is dirty and even proudly sports a flat tire.  Why?  Because at Dan's the staffers ride.

They also strut some nifty historic rigs around for ambiance.  Here, a vintage fender mounted light.

The calling card on a beautiful brick wall.

And on the other side of the shop, two interesting round windows peak out at the trees and give a hint to the weather outside.

The front is pretty nondescript.  To a fault actually.  Designed by McClain Cycles in Cadillac?

But around the side, next to the round windows, a simple sign.  It all comes together.  Love the spanner as apostrophe. 

See this is what makes this shop kick ass.  With a straight face and possibly full acceptance of the responsibility of the pig headed arrogance that it implies, they intentionally placed some tattered copy of  Longfellow on some sad shlock of Astroturf next to a Chinese overpriced slave-labor produced Mountain hardwear crap sleeping bag and an empty coffee cup in the front window of the shop; as a display for...biking?.  Irony? Maybe. Intentional?   I'm not so sure.  So dry and unassuming that it could just be small town thinking lost in a modern world and misinterpreted as folly?  Certainly possible.  The place has a Late Night 'Top Ten List" feel about it.  Fun but with quirks and seriousness peeking around the edges. Does it matter?  Not at all.  Rock that Longfellow crap. Make money off it.

To the griddle.

 Shop! - What an awesome place.  Bright.  Cheerful. Fun demeanor.  Well done!
 Bikes! - Trek predominantly, but the presence of the Surly, owned by a staffer and there for the customers to fondle tells me that they know how to think outside the box.  Sure they can sell you a Trek from stock, and they probably do numbers too small in Ionia to keep large stock on hand, but the Surly tells me that they know what else is out there and they can get their hands on it.

 Merch! - Same as above.  Not a bunch of stuff to fondle, but a wide assortment of commuter standard goodies, fenders and bells and the like.  Remember that Alfine generator hub on the 29er though?  They know what else is out there and they can get their hands on it.

 Staff! - Same guy has been there the three years I've stopped in.  He may be a relative of the long time proprietor, or maybe the young new owner, but no matter as he's on point with a friendly greeting and a snappy bearded smile on his face.  When I walked in he was elbows deep in a wheel repair and put it all down to greet me and ask if I needed anything.  Now most modern shop rats don't do wheel repairs at all, and even if they can they usually lack the aptitude to put it down and then pick it back up and know where they left off.  This guy?  Didn't miss a beat.  I was so impressed I bought a little weird Japanese spinner bell that I know I'll never use, but they earned a sale and I needed something small and not chemical (for the plane) to take home with me.  First rate.


5 crispy critters.  Dan's is the "Curious George and the High Voltage Fence" of the bike shop world.  What a small town shop should be. Awesome.


Steve Reed said...

Did you go through a town in Michigan called Big Rapids? Google tells me there's a store in Big Rapids called the All About Health Market & Wellness Center, which seems to be in the background of that first shot.

utahDOG! said...

We did, so that must be it. You industrious reporter, you.

Paul said...

Isn't that one of the highest toasted tots you have awarded?

utahDOG! said...

It is. Dan's and Mr. Goodbike in Gainesville. Both qualify as shops you should just go visit if you are in the area.

utahDOG! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
utahDOG! said...

I hate that the back button on Blogger now triggers a resubmit of my comments. Sometimes code monkeys are so thoughtful in creating their applications they are judgement-foolish and that comes to light in their final products.