Springfield cyclist seeks to open bike shop that focuses on community events

Jon Francis wants to create a bicycle shop/social center in downtown Springfield. BILL LACKEY/STAFF
Jon Francis wants to create a bicycle shop/social center in downtown Springfield. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

Jon Francis, a finalist for Springfield Hustles, a “Shark Tank,” style competition wants to open his own bicycle shop in downtown Springfield with the hopes of drawing more people into the area.

Francis, a cycling enthusiast, wants to establish his shop close to the Little Miami Scenic Trail that cuts through town. He said one of the most traveled sections of that trail goes into the city.

“My ideal location would be less than a block away from where the trail comes into downtown,” Francis said, noting that he is looking at a space on West High Street.

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In addition to attracting those cyclists on the Little Miami and encouraging them to come downtown during their rides, Francis wants to establish community events that are centered around cycling, which could include scheduled group rides or lessons.

“Anything that I can do to get people downtown and feel that they are part of a larger community,” he said. “Through doing that, if I can sell some bikes or do a few repairs, that would be great.”

Francis entered the Springfield Hustles competition and was hoping to use the grand prize package of $10,000 and more than $76,000 in services to help make his dream of owning and running his own shop a reality.

PIPE Ag, a Springfield-based farming technology business earned the top prize.

However, since the winner of the competition was announced earlier this month, he said he is continuing to look at ways to make his dream a reality.

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Francis said he has a business partner, who is a fellow cycling enthusiast, and is actively looking for a storefront.

He said that Springfield is home to a rather large cycling community and he has met hundreds of fellow enthusiast during his 13 years working at Bicycle Stop on West First Street.

However, Francis said he left that job in October to focus on starting his own business, which he said would be a traditional brick and mortar store with a social service edge.

He said he also wants to sell products catered towards cycling enthusiast including a brand that makes steel frames out of Austin and another that makes road racing frames in Italy.

Francis said the goal now is to have the shop up and running by mid-February and a grand opening in March.